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Will Glee Get Away with Transphobic Remark? Yeah, Probably.

October 27, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Thought of the Gay

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.

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Morning Show’s Transphobic Remarks Should Spark Outrage from the LGBT Community

January 30, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Janet - Kiss 98.5 FM - WRONG WRONG WRONGJanet Snyder and Nicholas Picholas aren’t exactly superstars to the bulk of the world.  In fact, I’d never heard of them until their morning show which airs in Buffalo, NY on KISS 98.5, took the typically demeaning and irresponsible direction that gets them loads of attention but at a heavy price.

The duo not only belittled the reproductive rights and the right of choice guaranteed by the United States constitution and the historic case Roe v. Wade, but they poked fun of the appearance of a bearded man with a pot belly – and we aren’t talking about Santa Claus or a Nascar fan.  While discussing the “second pregnant man” (being Scott Moore, a pregnant transman), Janet referred to the image of a man with a pregnant belly as “wrong, wrong, wrong.”

Press |> play below to hear the commentary:

[audio:http://www.jaysays.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Transphobia.mp3]

All that said, it’s just another crass example of transphobia, right?  It’s not like they said we should murder transpeople, they just said they thought it was, “wrong, wrong, wrong.”  Perhaps that’s why the LGBT community at large has generally ignored the comment? After all, the Facebook group devoted to the issue has only 109 members as of this post.  Perhaps that’s why, three days after the transphobic comments, I’m only just finding out about it in spite of being someone who attempts to stay well informed?

Ironically, before learning of this story, I posted to the jaysays.com page on Facebook the following quote from my favorite American poet, Walt Whitman:

Whoever degrades another degrades me, And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.

I take it personal, in spite of the fact that I am not gender queer or a transperson.  Each and every one of us should take the comments personally, for they are simply the spark that start the fire.  If we do not work together to extinguish these small fires, we are destined to burn everything down.

Please join the facebook group to learn what you can do to help end transhpobia.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays – Transgender People are Deluded and Don’t Exist

December 11, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysFor those that may not be familiar with Bilerico.com, essentially, it is an LGBT blog community which reports on issues relevant to our community.  The Bilerico Project has over 80 contributors/editors and alumni including some of the most respected names in the LGBT rights movement like, Donna Rose, Jillian T. Wise, David Badash, Joe Solomenese, Kip Williams, Kate Clinton and many, many more. Their list includes the L, the G, the B and the T and reads as a who’s who in the equality movement.  Many authors there are my friends, many have been guests on Closet Talk and I always value their opinions and ideas.

But being friends, colleagues, guests or on a “who’s who” list doesn’t make Bilerico right when it comes to a recent post by contributor, Ronald Gold.  I can certainly understand publishing a piece that turns out to have a factual inaccuracy or even one that expresses an unpopular opinion. However, Ronald Gold may have expressed the least informed, most unfounded opinion ever published in an LGBT forum by a supposed advocate for equality.

In the article recently published, Mr. Gold makes the claim that gender is solely biological, then leaps to the conclusion that such fact evidences that “transgender” does not exist. As if this ill-advised conclusion isn’t dangerous enough, Mr. Gold continues:

I would, however, get after the doctors – the psychiatrists who use a phony medical model to invent a disease that doesn’t exist, and the surgeons who use such spurious diagnoses to mutilate the bodies of the deluded.

Did you catch that?  Mr. Gold just stated that transgender people are “deluded” in a forum designed to support LGBT people.  Did the world go amiss or was bilerico.com not getting enough traffic to substantiate the cost of advertising on the site?

Unfortunately for Mr. Gold and the Bilerico Project, such marketing ploy (if it is one) or such ignorance (which it more likely is) reflects not only on Mr. Gold, but the entire Bilerico Project and its contributors.  Obviously, Donna Rose would disagree with Mr. Gold’s position as well as many other contributors, but rather than publish an apology, the editorial staff at Bilerico Project chose instead to post the following editor’s note at the beginning of the post (several hours after its publication):

All posts published on Bilerico Project do not reflect the opinions of nor any endorsement by the Editorial Team. Many Bilerico readers and contributors have found Ronald Gold’s op-ed offensive or needlessly coarse. The idea behind Bilerico Project is to encourage dialogue among different facets of the LGBT community that might normally never interact this intimately. We encourage all readers to continue responding to Mr. Gold in the same spirit his post was written – with positive intent while bluntly stating your own opinion and experiences.

While I’m ordinarily quick to defend fellow equality fighters, I would have hoped that the editorial staff would have recognized hate speech and chosen not to publish the article.  In no way was this article written with “positive intent.”  I have to say I’m very disappointed with the Bilerico Project for helping propogate lies and misinformation about transgender people – even if it was just a publicity stunt.

Now you get my editor’s note for this post.  The column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays (of which this post is part of) uses the term “Gay” inclusively.  It’s always been so and will always be so.  jaysays.com and all of its contributors strive to be fully inclusive and leave no freak behind.  More Stupid Things People Say About Gays can be found here.