‘Friends’ creator Marta Kaufmann regrets misgendering trans character

Co-creator of iconic sitcom Friends has shared her thoughts on her former project’s treatment of its notable transgender character.

Marta Kaufmann, who also developed Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, has said she regrets the misgendering of one of lead character Chandler Bing’s parents.

Kathleen Turner made two guest appearances in the show’s seventh season as Chandler’s transgender parent and drag performer Helena Handbasket.

While Friends never explicitly stated Turner’s character was trans, Kaufmann has now confirmed that was the intention, saying it was a mistake using male pronouns to identify her.

“We kept referring to her as ‘Chandler’s father’, even though Chandler’s father was trans,” Kaufmann told BBC’s The Conversation.

“Pronouns were not yet something that I understood, so we didn’t refer to that character as ‘she’. That was a mistake.”

Back in 2019 Kaufmann shared similar sentiments, saying she regrets many ‘jokes’ that punched down against the LGBTQIA+ community.

Kathleen Turner, known for her roles in Serial Mom, Peggy Sue Got Married and The Virgin Suicides, also revealed at the time that she would no longer take on that role, saying “I don’t think it’s aged well.”

OIP Staff

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