During a panel about transgender representation on TV during the Television Critics Association press tour, Transparent creator Jill Soloway noted that Julia Sweeney’s long-running Saturday Night Live character Pat was an “awful piece of anti-trans propaganda that was handed out for years.” For those who missed SNL in the early ‘90s, Pat was an androgynous character who would get into weird situations that—for whatever reason—revolved around other people trying to figure out if Pat was a man or woman.
Soloway says that people didn’t recognize it at the time, but looking back, they think Pat was “a hateful thing to do.” They go on to call out “the idea of pointing at a person and laughing because they were non-binary” as particularly bad, especially since that’s really the whole joke with Pat. Other panelists, like Danger And Eggs creator Shadi Petosky, singled out Buffalo Bill from Silence Of The Lambs as being damaging because of the way the film makes his desire to be a woman just as bad as the murders.
Orange Is The New Black’s Laverne Cox also pointed out that creators in general need to “do better” because there are a lot of stories about trans people “that are still not being told.”
[UPDATE: An earlier version of this story used an incorrect pronoun for Soloway, who identifies as gender non-conforming. It has been updated to reflect their preferred pronouns.]