The RuPaul Brouhaha

Posted by – April 14, 2014

RuPaul’s Drag Race decided to stop using “she mail” for a segment on the show because trans people were upset about it – but moreso upset about an additional segment where people had to guess whether a close-up shot of a body part belonged to a cis woman or a “she male” (as the show put it).

& Today, a lot of really transphobic shit has been posted and tweeted, and by gay men. An old friend of mine who is a comedian and TV producer based in NYC posted a frustrated response on his Facebook page which he’s given me permission to reprint here.

There’s a lot of chatter in the LGBT community today about RuPaul’s Drag Race removing the “She-Mail” element of the show, due to complaints from transgender viewers. As a comedian, I have very mixed feelings about it. Not everyone appreciates satire, and many, many times, those who do not appreciate it end up unwittingly squashing the 1st Amendment rights of others. HOWEVER. As a gay man, I am utterly horrified by how aggressive some gay men and women are being toward those who are transgender over this issue. Many are going as far as to suggest we drop the T from LGBT, because we obviously “have different goals in mind.”

That is fucking disgraceful.

A gentle reminder that it was, in large part, the T in LGBT that conducted the Stonewall Riots. It was the T in LGBT that made it possible for you to get married in a big chunk of our country. It was the T in LGBT that made it possible for you to walk the streets holding hands relatively safely, as compared with 50 years ago, when that would have gotten you killed. Y’all need to slow your roll a bit here. Just because you’re now realizing that the T in LGBT has a much harder road to hoe than the rest of us does not mean you get to dismiss them. They never dismissed you. Those of you who are doing this are the exact same assholes who, if Dancing with the Stars awarded a prize called a Fag Bag, would be burning down ABC and hurling Molotov cocktails into Tom Bergeron’s house. Your brothers and sisters can feel differently about something without getting disowned. Pick your battles, and know your history. Taking a phrase off of a TV show does not constitute a legitimate reason to bury the people who gave you life.

Pick your battles and know your history. Some days those seem like unreachable goals.

3 Comments on The RuPaul Brouhaha

  1. Donna says:

    Thanks for bringing this up, Helen. Plain old lack of support is bad enough, but the aggressive hostility is very demoralizing.

    My son — who loves RPDR — gives me hope that a younger generation of gay men isn’t quite so hypocritical.

  2. gennee says:

    This is one reason I invest time reminding some that trans people were front and center at Stonewall. I was twenty at the time. I met a few people who shared with that this was so. Helen, your friend echoes some of my sentiments exactly. Trans people are standing up for themselves now and those who trash us will be called out on it.

  3. marci payne says:

    it is so funny that the lesson best learned by the oppressed is how to become oppressive. i personally have come to understand that the terms she-male and tranny are the vocabulary of bigots. these are banner words for the porn industry who have yet to produce any truly erotic transgender content, or if so a minimal amount.
    further, my understanding of the situation is that the transgendered community reached out to the show and the show responded by making a wise choice.
    that is not squashing free speech.
    that is us saying… hey, please stop it. that hurts.
    that is a responsible program saying, ooops, sorry. we didn’t mean anything bad…
    and this is me saying…. it’s ok, girlfriend….

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