Media on Transgendered People and Social Issues

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In this, the 21st century, control over the masses seems to becoming more apparent from a hierarchy containing a handful of self-selected highly ranked, influential individuals. Controlling the views and beliefs of whole nations of people, by controlling what information they receive and how this information is delivered. Some of these people are highly respected, trusted and in positions of authority. Their words have the power to not only give hope to, but also scare and shape the beliefs of their followers who, unquestionably trust in their intentions. A prime example of this powerful influence on society is in the so-called democratic country of Australia, where one man, Rupert Murdoch, owns two thirds of the nation’s biggest newspapers. 75% of the remaining is owned by one other man, John Fairfax (Donavan, 2011). So then, the well-known saying ‘Don’t believe everything you read or hear’ is a good reminder to anyone subjected to receiving the news anywhere in Australia, to keep an open mind, be sceptical and seek out any other facts through further research before making up their minds on a reported situation. Just because something is broadcast through the media, or is said by an important person, it does not automatically make it fact or cover the whole truth. Very rarely are both sides of a story ever expressed unbiasedly, bringing forth all facts and information and then leaving it up to the individual to make a decision. Consequently, this paper will compare different media outlets. One stemming from great power and position, and the other from a small local community organisation, showing the different strategies and contexts in which they report, how and who they influence and what factual information they use to back up their statements on the topic of transgendered people. Before examining these differences, it is important to mention that the term ‘transgender’ can be defined several ways academically, so for the sake of this paper ‘transgender’ will be used as the umbrella term covering people whose biological sex does not completely, in part or at all coincide with their gender identity. Furthermore, it must be mentioned that gender identity is different from homosexuality, which is sexual orientation. Transgendered people, like everybody else can be straight, bi, gay or somewhere in-between (Dra.Torres, 2001). For a group of people that have existed as some predict, since mankind’s genetic make-up started to differ from ’perfect’ (Reitz, 2009), equality in society has never seemed to exist for long, if at all. There are historical accounts throughout Ancient Greece, Rome and across the Mediterranean to the Middle East of transgendered people worshipping their transgendered goddesses and not only being socially accepted but thought to possess powers of protection and good fortune. That was until Christian and Islamic influences spread and not only were their religious beliefs defamed and eradicated, transgendered people were as well (Dra.Torres, 2001). 2000 years on it seems not much has changed in the eyes of the Catholic Church. On the 22rd of December 2008, Pope Benedict XVI gave his annual end of year Christmas speech to a room filled with archbishops and priests. Broadcasted from inside the Vatican, through their personally owned television station, website, and printed in newspapers across the globe. He summarised the year that was, describing in lengthy detail the occurrence of World Youth Week in Australia, sending messages of peace to war-torn countries and comparing gay and transgendered people to a rainforest. At a time of year that is supposed to be about spreading peace and joy and bringing people together, Pope Benedict XVI started off with these blessings saying “…The grace of God has appeared for all.” He then mention World Youth Week in all its glory following by saying and the earth is a gift we must all protect and not abuse the earth’s resources for personal gain....
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