At its heart, Pretty Little Liars is a mystery with the identity of the villain named A bearing the giant question mark, so when the big reveal took place this season, PLL fans were glued to their seats in anticipation. A was revealed and said to be a transgender male-to-female character and that, in itself, created a stir among Pretty Little Liars‘ fanbase.
Many fans felt that by creating a mentally unhinged villain as a transgender, the creative team behind Pretty Little Liars was contributing to negative stereotypes already plaguing the transgender community. However, as the Pretty Little Liars creator points out, great care was taken in showing that unique circumstances were to blame for CeCe Drake’s psychological issues.
“Actually, we tried to be very clear that Charles comes from a very crazy family,” I. Marlene King said. “Crazy runs in the family, I say, and it just so happens that this person, I think, suffered some tragic consequences of a crazy family, but having nothing to do with [being] transgender.”
ABC Family dodged a bullet with that one, but the network, in posting a meme to promote the second half of Pretty Little Liars‘ season 6, has created turmoil that will not be so easily dissuaded, according to Flavorwire.
See for yourself:
The post was removed almost as soon as it was posted, but it was up long enough to draw the ire of plenty of PLL fans, who took offense to the transphobic usage of “it” in the post’s caption. Many fans also took offense at the use of “he,” since Pretty Little Liars already revealed that CeCe Drake was A. While there seems to be some confusion by the post, considering that the mystery of A has already been solved, most of the Pretty Little Liars fans demanded that ABC Family remove the post, reports Seventeen magazine. The network responded quickly, but that won’t remove the comments and replies from the Pretty Little Liars fans.
@ABCFpll ‘It’ is probably the most offensive term to call a transgender person. This post is rude af.
— han ॐ (@Hannah_ADTR) August 24, 2015
@ABCFpll pls don’t refer to trans people as it anymore thanks — Addie Patterson (@survivorqueen) August 24, 2015
@ABCFpll this is offensive.
— Phaedra (@vrayisgod) August 24, 2015
Their remarks will remain as a testament to the transphobia that many battle on a daily basis and that which transgender activists like Laverne Cox and Jazz Jennings are hoping to eliminate. Neither Pretty Little Liars nor ABC Family have responded to the reactions of the fans, so it remains to be seen if any kind of an apology will be issued or if the offensive meme will simply be swept under the rug.
Pretty Little Liars returns in January 2016 on ABC Family.
[Featured image: Vanessa Ray courtesy of ABC Family/Pretty Little Liars]