SyFy’s “Lost Girl” is one of the most inclusive shows on television, with strong, dynamic lesbian and bisexual characters in prominent roles. Given the show’s exemplary reputation when it comes to LGBT issues, fans and critics were particularly dismayed by a scene depicting anti-transgender violence.
In “Caged Fae,” its Season 3 premiere, “Lost Girl” heroine Bo intentionally got herself put into a supernatural women’s prison in order to investigate a criminal plot.
The jail was run by Amazons, who were impregnating the prisoners and selling their babies. Here’s where things got offensive. At the end of the episode, Bo kissed the prison’s warden, who appears to be female — and then announced that she had beard stubble, and was biologically male. The Amazon guards descended on the warden, grabbing her crotch and violently dragging her away. The warden survives the assault. She is referred to using male pronouns for the duration of the episode.
There is some debate as to whether the warden is representative of a real-life transgender person, as she is a supernatural shape-shifting creature and thus her sexuality may not be comparable to that of humans. Still, the scene was undeniably evocative of a situation that is very real. Transgendered people are often subject to violence when their biological sex is revealed, and there’s a devastating stigma that transgendered people try to “trick” people with perverse intention.
Some fans were also upset that the character was played by a female actress, and that the character was not given a name. The character’s main objective in the episode was essentially to rape and impregnate prisoners, and then brainwash them — she wasn’t exactly a three-dimensional character. Other fans said that because the warden was in disguise as a female for a nefarious purpose, she wasn’t actually a transgender person.
In a statement, the producers tell GLAAD that the warden was not intended to represent any human sexuality, and was simply based on a specific mythological creature. The full statement is below.
We want to let you know that the Lost Girl writers base all episodic characters off of researched folklore, and that the character of The Warden in the premiere of Season 3 is a character based off the mythological shapeshifter known as the Liderc. The Warden was only intended to represent this mythic being. We did not intend this character to be seen as a transgender person, we apologize if the character was seen as such. We do hope that you accept that no comparison or discrimination toward the transgender community was intended by the depiction of this mythological character.
Lost Girl prides itself on being open and accepting to everyone, and are enthusiastic supporters of the GLBT community. We want to encourage a society in which everyone can feel comfortable to express and be who they are without judgment. Equality and a world without labels is important to all of us at the series. We strive to create three dimensional characters, who empower all viewers regardless of sexuality or gender.