On 11 May at 8.30pm, Australian TV will offer a reality show with a Crying Game twist. Channel 10’s latest import There’s Something About Miriam stars a trannie who dupes a group of straight guys into believing she’s female.

The show caused controversy in the UK this month when the six contestants for Miriam’s heart settled their civil claims for injury and public humiliation, which they said resulted from the program.

The men were competing, on round-the-clock cameras, for the affection of pre-op transsexual woman Miriam (pictured) without knowing her gender status -“ they believed the stunning Mexican-born brunette was female.

The men accepted an undisclosed settlement, believed to be between $250,000 and $350,000 each, following the instigation of a lawsuit in November.

Far from preventing the show from being broadcast, the settlement means the contestants are now well-known faces in the UK.

At the beginning of the show the six men were presented with a line-up of beautiful women and asked to pick the one that they found most attractive. All of them selected Miriam. Then, in typical reality dating show fashion, they competed to win her affections.

Elizabeth Riley, general manager of The Gender Centre, believes There’s Something About Miriam is exploitative of transsexuals.

This particular TV show is setting up a scenario that historically has led to violence and, on a number of occasions, the murder of transgender people, when their biological sex has been discovered by an amorous partner, Riley said.

To make light of a situation like that in a reality TV show is in the very least poor taste, and fails to acknowledge the serious implications this issue can have within the transsexual community.

The star of the show, Miriam, says her aim was simply to meet Mr Right. I did it because I wanted to know if real love exists, she told TV Plus. I don’t feel used by it. I was trying to be myself and if anyone had asked me about myself I would have told them.

Miriam says the show gives a serious insight into the lives of transsexuals and the problems they face.

The show will help people understand better what people like me are all about, she told the Irish Examiner.

According to one of her unofficial fan sites 22 year-old Miriam is happy to hold off undergoing a complete gender change.

I think it’s such a huge decision and you have to be prepared for the whole process, she said.

I just love myself and I’m really enjoying my life. I’m simply not ready for it.

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