As Broadway continues its push for more inclusivity, activists and organizations are frequently consulted by producers and creative teams for advice and feedback. And GLAAD has long been at the forefront of ensuring that popular entertainment is doing its careful best to represent the LGBTQ+ community with fairness and respect.
Recently, reports surfaced claiming that GLAAD representatives attended workshops of the upcoming Broadway musical Mrs. Doubtfire and provided feedback due to concerns that the musical, featuring a cisgender straight man in a dress, might be offensive to the trans community—a complaint that dogged the Tony-nominated Tootsie and led to incorrect reports that the show had not consulted GLAAD.
In this exclusive statement, GLAAD clarifies the Mrs. Doubtfire situation, and, for the first time, shares the work they did with Tootsie.
“Various media outlets have reported that GLAAD has consulted with the musical Mrs. Doubtfire to ensure that it does not inadvertently cause offense to the transgender community.
“As the producers of Mrs. Doubtfire made clear in their statement on December 2, 'they have taken feedback and notes from people representing different constituencies who have seen rehearsals as part of the process of making the show.' One GLAAD employee attended a rehearsal, but not in an official consulting capacity. No formal feedback from GLAAD has been given to producers. Conversations between the show’s producers and GLAAD continue.
“Some media stories have implied that Mrs. Doubtfire has worked with GLAAD, while Tootsie did not. On the contrary, GLAAD has been working closely with the producers and creative team of Tootsie during its rehearsal process and Broadway run, to make sure any concerns from members of the transgender community are addressed. It has been a collaborative and productive relationship. GLAAD’s insights and suggestions have been met with understanding and have been implemented into the production where needed.
“GLAAD often serves as a resource for media content creators, providing notes and feedback on scripts. While neither Tootsie nor Mrs. Doubtfire has a transgender character, both stories involve cisgender men wearing dresses. For decades, films and TV shows have treated the idea of a 'man in a dress' as inherently ridiculous. Transgender women are certainly not men in dresses, but in our current culture, people continue to confuse and wrongfully conflate the two. One of GLAAD’s roles is to work with content creators to educate them about tropes and stereotypes that affect LGBTQ people, and GLAAD’s conversations with Tootsie—and potential future conversations with Mrs. Doubtfire—revolve around helping them identify the context of these tropes."