Friends Co-Creator Regrets How Chandler's Transgender Parent Was Represented In Show
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Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman has spoken out about the regret she feels about the representation of Chandler Bing’s transgender parent in the show.
Kauffman, who co-created the hit sitcom alongside David Crane, said it had been a ‘mistake’ having the character referred to by male pronouns.
Fans of the show will remember that Chandler’s parent – played by Kathleen Turner – was transgender.
Speaking during an interview with The Conversation, she said: “We kept referring to her [Turner’s character] as ‘Chandler's father’, even though Chandler's father was trans.
“Pronouns were not yet something that I understood so we didn't refer to that character as ‘she’, that was a mistake.”
Turner has previously said she wouldn’t take on the role today.
Speaking on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen back in 2019, she said: “Of course I wouldn’t do it now, because there would be real people who could do it.
"At the time, one of the co-creators of Friends… I was doing a one-woman show based on Tallulah Bankhead and he came up to see the show in San Francisco and came backstage and said, 'You have to play Chandler's dad,'
"I thought, 'A woman playing a man playing a woman, I haven't done that.' So I said yes."
Kauffman’s latest comments come just days after she spoke about the lack of diversity within Friends.
However, she felt that a simple verbal apology was not enough and pledged $4 million (£3,298,220) to private research Brandeis University in Boston.
The money will go to the African and African American studies department.
She told Los Angeles Times: "It was after what happened to George Floyd that I began to wrestle with my having bought into systemic racism in ways I was never aware of.
"That was really the moment that I began to examine the ways I had participated. I knew then I needed to course-correct."
Kauffman added: "I’ve learnt a lot in the last 20 years. Admitting and accepting guilt is not easy. It’s painful looking at yourself in the mirror. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know better 25 years ago."
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers