Tag Archives: transphobia

Transphobia on the New X-Files?

Like many who followed the first X-Files series, I’ve welcomed the return of the series for its mini-season, even though the episodes thus far have contained more than a bit of camp. And so starts the third episode of this series, which is titled “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster.” The episode is your basic “monster” episode, outside the overall plot arc for the series (which still remains to be made clear), and normally these “monster” episodes are an opportunity to have a bit of scary with a bit of fun.

This episode, however, starts to go bad within 6 minutes of the start. The overall plot has Mulder and Scully investigating murders (or animal attacks) in Oregon, and very quickly we are treated to a scene of a prostitute at a truck stop soliciting sex, who encounters the “monster of the week” and promptly wallops it with her purse. The prostitute is played by D.J. Pierce, a drag performer whose acting credits include “This is Drag” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” And as Mulder and Scully interview her as a witness, she outs herself as a crack-addicted transgender prostitute in an incredibly cringe-worthy scene. You can see a clip below (forgive the crudeness; I lack mad video skills and I didn’t want to pirate directly from the episode).

Later on, Mulder has a conversation with the “monster,” now in man form as “Guy Mann,” wherein he stumbles embarrassingly through a discussion of the meaning of transgender and transsexual.

Mann: “Man, she hit like a man!”

Mulder: “That’s because she used to be… she once… she’s transgender.”

Mann: “What? You can’t transform into a different sex! That’s nuts!”

Mulder: “It’s not nuts, it’s actually a very common medical procedure. You don’t need the surgery, technically, to—”

Mann: “Maybe that’s what I could do! It’s a cure! I’ll do the surgery!”

Mulder: “No, completely different.”

Mann: “Tell me how much it costs, I’ll do it.”

Mulder: “They cut off your genitals.”

Mann: “No, leave it. That’s a step too far, isn’t it. Well, anyway, I think she gave me a concussion.”

“That’s a step too far, isn’t it?” Right.

Will I stop watching the new series because of this? No. But the X-Files missed a moment to actually show a just a little bit of sympathy towards transgender persons.

New Zoolander Film Called “Transphobic”

A somewhat odd controversy has erupted over the trailer for the film Zoolander 2. In the trailer, actor Benedict Cumberbatch plays a androgynous model named “All,” and in one brief scene from the trailer, the two stars question whether All is a “male or female model” and if All has “a hot dog or a bun.”

Several petitions have been started calling for a boycott of the film for mocking transgender, androgyne, and gender fluid individuals. While other petitions demand to know why a transgender, androgyne, or gender fluid individual was not cast in the campy role, as opposed to a cisgender actor. Just proving that some days, you simply cannot win.

Having viewed the trailer my strongest urge was neither to start nor sign a petition, but rather to consider watching Mad Max: Fury Road for the 9th time instead.

You can see the trailer at the link below

Where Mainstream Blogs Get it Wrong: Joan Rivers is a “Longtime LGBT ally?”

I guess she’s a “longtime LGBT ally” if the “L” is a typographical error, the “B” is silent, and the “T” was added by a politically correct editor. This is just more proof that “mainstream” blogs get it wrong some of the time.

Joan Rivers was and as far as I can tell is not an ally of transpeople at all, other than chumming it up at times with RuPaul (who is a self-deprecating crossdresser, not a transsexual). I can well remember sitting and seething silently as on Johnny Carson, ET, and even in her Oscar night fashion bits she made very cruel jokes about or referring to transpeople. And she recently received bad press by referring to Michelle Obama as a “tranny.”

Inquiring about the impromptu ceremony, an unidentified reporter asked controversial octogenarian when we will have a gay president, to which she replied, “We already have it with Obama, so let’s just calm down.

She then goes on — unprompted! — to say “You know Michelle is a tranny.” When the reporter attempts to clarify, she responds: “A transgender. We all know.”

When fellow comedian and long-time anti-LGBT celebrity Tracy Morgan apologized for his anti-gay jokes, Rivers said he shouldn’t have bothered, since gay people shouldn’t be watching him anyways. And when fellow 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin made an anti-gay slur, Rivers again jumped to the defense with her own anti-gay comments.

I’m not trying to be mean-spirited and wish her or her family pain in her illness, but for goodness sake, let’s be honest here – she is not an ally of transpeople and her record is spotty at best for the LGB community. The author of this article has just grabbed “LGBT” and thrown it out there without any real thought or meaning.

Daughter: Longtime LGBT ally Joan Rivers is in ‘serious condition’ – LGBTQ Nation.

RuPaul Stokes Anger With Use of Transphobic Slurs

RuPaul really tries the patience of some in the transgender community. For others, however, he really pisses us off. He simultaneously will claim to speak for the transgender community while mocking it with an “I don’t give a shit” attitude.

Unfortunately, while that attitude may be endearing with honey badgers, it really isn’t fetching when it comes from a drag queen with a drastically inflated sense of self-worth.

A few choice quotes from this article:

Last night’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race featured a contest many on Twitter are calling transphobic. The game, “Female or Shemale,” pitted the contestants against each other in a quest to determine whether they were being shown a picture of — as RuPaul phrased it — “a biological woman or a psychological woman.”

In announcing the name of the game, “female” was said in a higher-pitched tone, while “shemale” was said in a low, gruff, masculine-sounding tone.

Nope, nothing wrong here! Oh, wait…

This is far from the first time RuPaul has stoked the ire of trans people. He has famously defended his use of the word “tranny” on Drag Race and in his music, and once claimed that the only difference between a transgender woman and a drag queen was “$25,000 and a good surgeon.”

Ah…good plan, dude. Next time, try saying something intelligent for a change.

RuPaul Stokes Anger With Use of Transphobic Slur | Advocate.com.

Transphobia, Sloppy Reporting, or Both? The Life and Death of Dr. V

Hopper_BrooklynAn enormous controversy has blown up in the last few days over a story written by Caleb Hannan on a website called Grantland, titled Dr. V’s Magical Putter. The story claims to be a fact-finding hayride into the claims behind a “magical” golf putter and the personal life of its inventor, Essay Anne Vanderbilt (a/k/a “Dr. V.”). Ms. Vanderbilt was a transsexual woman, and of course once Mr. Hannan uncovered that fact, an article which is along the lines of one I would have written for the paper suddenly took a left turn at Albuquerque, and turned into a “poke and laugh at the tranny” piece. For example, from the story:

He was clearly trying to tell me something, which is why he began emphasizing certain words. Every time he said “she” or “her” I could practically see him making air quotes. Finally it hit me. Cliché or not, a chill actually ran up my spine.

“Are you trying to tell me that Essay Anne Vanderbilt was once a man?”

A chill “actually ran up (his) spine.” It makes me wonder what sort of person, deep down, Mr. Hannan is to be so titillated over the discovery that someone he is investigating might be a transsexual woman. They’re his words, I’m certain heavily reviewed and accepted, and they imply either a sexual frisson of being a repressed chaser, or else the sick thrill a blogging sociopath feels when he has an easy target in his sights.

The story is made all the more tragic by the clear desperation and breakdown of Ms. Vanderbilt as she is being harassed by Mr. Hannan, reported almost breathlessly in blow-by-blow exchanges. When we read that Ms. Vanderbilt took her life weeks after being harassed by Mr. Hannan, it’s a sad testimony to the transgender experience that we probably were not surprised at the outcome. Is Mr. Hannan responsible? Or did he merely contribute to the tragedy?

Being in the publishing business, I’ve written more than 500 published articles for actual money, and read 100 times that many. Mr. Hannan’s investigative piece had a chance to be a good article on the pseudoscience of golf fanatics and those who cater to them. In fact, I have had a piece published by the paper on that very subject. But Mr. Hannan’s article wasn’t that – it was character assassination with a science backdrop. Mr. Hannan doesn’t even have the God damned common decency to use the proper gender for pronouns, summing up his story with the following:

What began as a story about a brilliant woman with a new invention had turned into the tale of a troubled man who had invented a new life for himself. Yet the biggest question remained unanswered: Had Dr. V created a great golf club or merely a great story?

Mr. Hannan’s editor Bill Simmons published a pseudo-apology, throwing himself and his editorial staff on the sword in a somewhat disproportionate effort to try to absolve Mr. Hannan. He amusingly refers to the piece as “a well-written feature,” thus setting the stage for what follows. He makes one factual error which indicates he is scrambling to “circle the wagons.”

In the moment, we believed you couldn’t “out” someone who was already dead, especially if she was a public figure.

BZZZZT, sorry, the inventor of a golf club and owner of a tiny golf club company is not a “public figure.” A politician or political candidate is a public figure. Media stars are public figures. Here’s a clue, genius – a public figure is by definition someone who actively courts public attention via exposure through their artistic or critical work, by nature of their employment, or by public service. Ms. Vanderbilt was none of those.

The pseudo-apology is a somewhat rambling piece which I’ve seen before from editors. It’s the equivalent of an “oh shit, let’s write a wall of text to throw people off, and admit we let the writer down, but at the same time stick to our guns for our awesome fact-finding!” The problem is, the transphobia of Mr. Hannan cannot be apologized for by a third party. In fact, this part of his pseudo-apology really tells us what we need to know about Grantland.

To my infinite regret, we never asked anyone knowledgeable enough about transgender issues to help us either (a) improve the piece, or (b) realize that we shouldn’t run it. That’s our mistake — and really, my mistake, since it’s my site. So I want to apologize. I failed.

More importantly, I realized over the weekend that I didn’t know nearly enough about the transgender community – and neither does my staff.

Not sophisticated enough to know about gender policies for transgender persons? Never once thought to run it past a transgender person? There are something like 700,000 of us, and he couldn’t find a single person to ask? He seemingly wasn’t even aware that there was an “out” transsexual woman writing for Grantland? Huh?

The lesson here is to remember that what happened to Ms. Vanderbilt could happen to any transsexual woman. All it takes in today’s media is a hack blogger who hides behind the title “reporter,” an editorial staff asleep at the switch, and a website.