Will Glee Get Away with Transphobic Remark? Yeah, Probably.
Last night, Fox Network’s show Glee took on the challenge of a Rocky Horror tribute. As a Gleek and a Rocky fan, I was excited to see the show, particularly to get to see who had the great honor of dressing up as Dr. Frankfurter. I was pleasantly surprised by Finn (played by Cory Monteith) dressed up as Brad and playing the awkward, but surprisingly attractive dork we’ve all come to love. Perhaps more surprising was Mike Chang’s (Harry Shum, Jr.) offer to play the famed Dr. Frankfurter. I gasped at the thought of him prancing around in fishnets and leather. Then, disappointment and, dare I say, horror, hit when Mike not only advised that he cannot play Frankfurter in the performance, but that it was because his parents didn’t want him “dressing up like a tranny.”
The line could have easily been altered or perhaps left with an implication to the audience (as it’s generally obvious why a conservo-head parent would object to their son dressing up as Dr. Frankfurter). Perhaps it could have been “dressing up in fishnet stockings” or “revealing that much of my body publicly,” but no… it was the T-bomb and highly inappropriate.
I take great offense to the use of the word tranny (and even reluctantly use it here); although, I admit that many transgender people often use it to describe themselves. Regardless of context, I flinch at the word. It is the “T” equivalent of “fag” in my opinion – and the opinion of many of my dearest T friends. Perhaps even more shocking was the silence.
During the episode, my Facebook wall and twitter stream exploded with “Rocky this” and “Glee” that, but upon the pronouncement of the T-bomb, not a soul, sans perhaps myself, said one thing about it. Imagine, if you would, that the writers of the show had changed Mike’s line slightly to say, “”I really want to do it, but they’re just not cool with me dressing up like a fag.” The outrage from my LGB brothers and sisters would have been evident. Queerty, Americablog, Bilerico and all the others would have rushed to be the first to stand up against the outrageous line and demand an apology (in spite of the fact the show is generally “gay mecca”).
So where is the outrage? Where are the demands for an apology? The silence is not music to my ears.
- Glee Does Rocky Horror (pbpulse.com)
- “Rocky Horror” Gets the “Glee” Treatment (cbsnews.com)
- ‘Glee’ Rocky Horror Episode Is Really ‘The Shirtless Episode’ (socialitelife.com)