By and large, Pretty Little Liars has done a pretty good job of representing LGBT issues over the course of the series. And as Heather Hogan pointed out earlier this month on Autostraddle — the creatives behind the show have charted an extraordinary course representing queer women on the small screen. "PLL portrayed all queerness as a non-issue," she wrote after the series finale. "They died like everyone else died. They lived like everyone else lived." The network gets major props for bringing this kind of progressivism (and frankly, humanism) to the prime time small screen. However, it's clear that someone over at ABC Family needs a lesson in what constitutes transphobia, according to a tweet shared from the official Pretty Little Liars account today:
"He. She. It. Charlotte," the tweet read, enraging fans across the internet. "If you're referring to a trangender person as "it", expect a lot of people to start unstanning you. bye," wrote one. "'It' is probably the most offensive term to call a transgender person," said another. Though the post was quickly deleted, the creator of the series, Marlene King, also spoke out today via Instagram.
ABC has issued a mea culpa and explained the reference. “This tweet was in reference to lines Spencer and Hanna have said in previous episodes venting their frustration about not knowing the identity or gender of their tormentor ('A')," a representative for the show told Hollywood Life. “It was spoken by these characters a season before they found out that 'A' was a transgender character. We updated the reference by including the name Charlotte because it was revealed that Charlotte is 'A.' Once it was tweeted we realized that it could be misinterpreted, and in no way wanted to offend anyone, so we immediately deleted the tweet.” While it's positive to see the network taking ownership for the faux pas, the real problem is that this kind of inflammatory phrase made it online in the first place. Even if it's a quote from the show, repeating it out of context constitutes a huge oversight by the ABC Family. And while we can only speculate as to how this one made it through to the internet, one thing seems certain — someone over there has probably already lost their social media privileges by now.