‘Tiger King’ Docuseries Presents Trans Man as Butch Lesbian

One of the workers featured in the popular Netflix documentary Tiger King was misgendered throughout the series.

The show, which is currently #1 on Netflix in the U.S., focuses on Joe Exotic, a gay polyamorous man who owned an exotic animal petting zoo, and his obsessive rivalry with the owner of another “animal sanctuary,” Carol Baskin.

Saff makes recurring appearances on the show. He’s one of the zoo’s longest and most dedicated employees, having to have his arm amputated after one of the zoo’s tigers attacked him. Throughout the show, Saff is consistently misgendered and portrayed as a butch lesbian named Kelci. Robert Moor, who produced a podcast about the story before the series was released, pointed this out on Twitter.

“A useful piece of info for anyone discussing the show: Saff the person who got mauled by the tiger, told me repeatedly that he is trans, prefers to be called Saff (not ‘Kelci’), and uses he/him pronouns,” Moor tweeted. “So please do likewise.”

“It’s tricky,” he added, “because of all the news broadcasts at the time, and most of the people at the zoo, use the wrong pronouns for Saff. (Joe was particularly bad about this).”

Netflix recently collaborated with GLAAD on the #FirstTimeISawMe campaign to raise transgender visibility in the media. In 2019, there were only 38 transgender characters featured on TV.