US television show Saturday Night Live has been attacked for including a skit which mocked transgender women.

The piece, a mock advertisement for hormone pills, was “destructive and dehumanising”, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said.

It showed men with facial hair wearing dresses and advertised ‘EstroMaxx’.

GLAAD said the segment was “dangerous and blatantly anti-transgender”.

It added: “This segment cannot be defended as ‘just a joke’ because there was no ‘joke’ to speak of.

“The attempted comedy of the skit hinges solely on degrading the lives and experiences of transgender women.

“Holding people up for ridicule simply on the basis of their identity fuels a hurtful climate and puts people in danger, especially given how infrequently the media shines a fair and accurate light on the lives of transgender people.

GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said: “The violence, discrimination and harassment that transgender Americans experience each and every day is no laughing matter.

“Saturday Night Live is a touchstone of American comedy, but Saturday’s unfunny skit sends a destructive and dehumanising message.”

NBC, which broadcasts Saturday Night Live, has not commented.