In the above video, Meredith Talusan discusses media representation and the role of television in her English-learning journey. The discussion underscores the importance of seeing oneself in media, and the way media impacts how we see one another. In the case of people who are transgender, for example, representation is generally negative.

To learn more about why this matters and how misrepresentation and intolerance affect people, we’re turning to Fairest, Meredith’s debut memoir on her experiences as a Transgender, albino woman, and as an immigrant to the United States. This excerpt of her memoir focuses on libraries as “places of refuge for both queer people and immigrants” and the ways reading transports us into different dimensions. The account is peppered with reflections on the ways inclusion and exclusion are negotiated in present-day American society, and how for many communities, the road towards acceptance (and safety) has not been easy.

Discussion Questions

  • In the video, Meredith discusses media representation and how television helped her learn English. How has your own journey been impacted by media representation and English-language TV?
  • In the excerpt, Meredith shares some of the challenges she faced while learning English, including having an accent that was not immediately accepted by her peers. Eventually, however, she says she “managed to perform American competence.” What do you think this sentence means and how does it relate to your own experiences?

After reading this excerpt of Fairest (and writing down questions and new vocabulary) join us for an online discussion. We will meet on Friday, March 19 at 11:00 AM EST. The meeting is free and all are welcome.

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