‘Friends’ Creator Regrets Misgendering Chandler’s Trans Mom

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Marta Kauffman is getting her apologies out. Tea Friends creator previously told the Los Angeles Times that she had donated $4 million to establish an African and African American Studies professorship out of “guilt” over the lack of racial diversity on her hit sitcom. And now, per variety, Kauffman has also expressed regret over misgendering Chandler Bing’s transgender mom throughout the show. “Pronouns were not yet something that I understood,” she told the BBC in an interview that will reportedly air July 11. “So we didn’t refer to that character as ‘she.’ That was a mistake.” Friends introduced the character in question as Chandler’s father, a gay man, and a drag queen called Helena Handbasket. Often the butt of jokes, she was played by Kathleen Turner. “How they approached with me with it, was, ‘Would you like to be the first woman playing a man playing a woman?’” Turner recalled to the Gay Times in 2018, noting that she didn’t think Friends “aged well” with regard to LGBTQ+ rights. Like Kauffman, Turner would have made different decisions looking back. In 2019, she told Andy Cohen that she would refuse the role if offered it again “because there would be real people able to do it.”

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