Transgender*: The Rhetorical Landscape of a Term
April 23, 2014
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April 28, 2014

Transmisogyny masquerading as parody: HuffPo’s Gay Voices promotes disturbing video from former Drag Race contestant

By Mari Brighe


Trigger warning: video linked portrays a trans woman being murdered

A trans woman activist portrayed with a moustache and a bad wig being murdered by a drag queen is the kind of imagery that would come with a trigger warning on most sensible online information outlet, not hailed as “hilarious” by one it’s editors. But, it would appear that Huffington Post editor James Nichols believes that the death of trans activist at the hands of an angry drag queen is a laugh-out-loud situation.


Yesterday, Nichols posted a video to the popular online liberal news magazine’s Gay Voices section entitled “RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 76”- from former Drag Race contestant Alaska Thunderfck- that appears to be a response to the show’s recent decision to end its “You’ve Got She-mail” segment and to pull a previous episode with the segment “Female or Shemale” after extensive criticism from the trans community and a chiding from GLAAD. Alaska’s video depicts a trans activist named “Joy Less” with a full mustache, bad wig, and the deepest voice of any character in the video, who objects to the use of the particular words by the host until she is murdered by the host with the justification of “this is my motherfcking show, and I’m gonna whatever the f*ck I want”. Nichols briefly introduces the video as the “latest in a long line of hilarious videos” from Thunderstruck and gives this description:

“In “RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 76,” Alaska not only gives us a look at what we could expect from our favorite reality show years down the road, he also dives head first into the recent controversy about language policing in regards to the show.”

“But Mari,” you might say, “drag is all about pushing boundaries and satirizing issues.” And, you’d be right; satire and parody have a long history in drag performance. But there can be a fine line between effective parody and bigotry; and Alaska took an Olympic-qualifying long jump over that line in this piece. The physical portrayal of “Joy Less” with moustache, wig, and deep voice doesn’t parody anything; it’s a direct, nasty jab at the legitimacy of the identities of trans women, playing on the same tired, bigoted trope that we’re just a bunch of men in wigs and dresses. Alaska could have made his point about what he clearly sees as the “oversensitivity” of trans activists with functionally depiction of a trans woman, but he goes out of his way to be as denigrating as possible for little reason other than to express his own transmisogynistic view, and possibly to insult one or more of the trans writers who were at the forefront of pressing for the language change in Drag Race. Overall, it appears that it’s not even the trans activist’s “oversensitivity” that’s the meant to be laughed at, rather it’s her entire existence. That’s not parody; that’s a pure, cruel, personal insult tantamount to out-and-out misgendering.

Far more disturbing to me, however, is the depiction of the murder of the trans activist character. Though the actual “weapon” appears to be a hairdryer, the use of realistic gunshot sound-effects and cut-back to “Joy Less” with a clear bullethole in her head turn this into a nightmare of triggers for transwomen, who face some of the highest rates of violent crime. Why does she need to die at all? Why go so far as to show us the character with a bullet-wound in her head?  From the context, it would appear that Alaska intended this particular sequence to be the punchline of the entire skit, which demonstrates a disturbingly callous disregard for the violence faced by trans women. Why is the violent death of a trans woman funny? When murdering a trans woman is portrayed as something one should laugh about, it trivializes our lives, our humanity, and our pain, and that makes it that much easier for the next person to pull the trigger that takes a trans woman’s life.

Photo: “Joy Less”, including a bullet-wound in her head

If this video had just floated across my twitter or facebook feed as a youtube link, I’d still be awfully disgusted. The last thing the ongoing “drag versus trans” dust-up needs is more vitriol on this scale, and the video is tasteless offensive. But, but seeing it posted on the LGBT section of a major online new outlet like Huffington Post takes this to a whole new level and very seriously calls into question HuffPo Gay Voices’ commitment to the trans community. When Parker Molloy, trans issues writer for The Advocate called out Gay Voices executive editor Noah Michelson for the post, he appeared unperturbed:

However, it appears at least someone at Huffington Post was paying attention to the uproar, as later the following statement was appended to the post of the video:

After posting, we realized this video is one example of how diverse gender-variant communities are currently engaged in a complicated conversation about important issues regarding language, identity and privilege. Drag uses humor and parody in ways that are sometimes angry and controversial to make a point, and in this case, we understand that some people are offended by that anger and the way this discussion was broached. We encourage readers to make up their own minds about its message.

So, we’ve got a little bit of a walk-back here and a standard “we understand” statement. What this isn’t, however, is apology of any kind for describing this transmisogyny as hilarious, nor the addition of any kind of trigger warning that the video contains depictions of trans violence. In fact, it appears to be more of Huffington Post Gay Voice’s ongoing defense of drag performers verbal attacks on trans activists, and of their right to use transphobic slurs at will. Michelson has history of similar kinds of statements on Twitter, including these doozies that demonstrate his deep lack of knowledge of trans issues:

The fact that an editor of the LGBT section of such a major publication could post such a transphobic video, believing it to be “hilarious,” invokes some serious questions about James Nichols qualifications to be involved in covering trans issues, particularly at an editor level. The fact that his executive editor, Noah Michelson, unflinchingly backed him and that this video still sits on the website without apology, trigger warning, or critical commentary demonstrates that Michelson is a questionable choice to lead Gay Voices at best, and seriously undermines any hope that Huffington Post has a commitment to trans issues and trans readers. Given that that their editorial staff consists of only cisgender gay men, I suppose it shouldn’t come as a shock that “Gay Voices” holds true to its name and prioritizes the words of cis gay men.

Andrea James shares in HuffPo’s joke

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  • D

    I think my brain just fell out.
    I’m from Texas, where several friends were assaulted for wearing the wrong gendered clothing – you don’t want to know how those on hormones were treated. I wore men’s clothing and had to fight my way out of groups of angry hicks.. and even I think this is ridiculously over sensitive.
    ..then again, we live in an idiot era where GLAAD gets upset at Ru-fucking-Paul for jokingly using the word “shemale” – Jesus Christ.

    Google “Patton Oswald Ru Paul” for more information.. and thank whatever god you believe in that you weren’t born before 1994.

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  • JC

    I can’t believe this is even an issue. The video doesn’t say trans activist, it says “Blogger, activist and writer for the live journal”, along with the name Joyless is clearly trying to depict an oversensitive internet troll. Not all trans people are oversensitive! I don’t know why this is being made an issue of when RPDR is at the bottom of the list of oppression trans people face. Know your enemies and know when to pick your battles because there are worse things out there than our own community.

    • Sami

      It’s an issue because a cis person is using their platform on television to promote transphobic slurs.

      It’s a problem because that cis person’s buddy released an utterly transparent attack on transwomen who object to those slurs here we’re depicted as mustachioed men and killed for laughs.

      It’s a problem because lots of people who claim to be our allies are either lying through their teeth claiming they don’t see what’s offensive about a video which I repeat, portrays transwomen as mustachioed men and jokes about us being murdered, or talking down to us about how we’re oversensitive when we all know bloody damn well that they’d be absolutely furious if someone used homophobic slurs or made a video that depicted gay people as o0ffensive stereotypes and joked them being murdered.

      • Sami

        Why did I switch to problem from issue? Didn’t mean to do that. I need sleep.

      • JC

        Well to be fair, the transphobic slur wasn’t even about any trans individuals, it was about drag queens.

        And you can’t hold Rupaul and his show accountable for Alaska’s video.

        The whole original segment of the show was in poor taste but both the segment and the “she-mail” alert wasn’t intentionally referencing trans people at all, so maybe the use of this outside the context of trans people would have helped change the meaning.

        Whatever your views I guess it just comes down to political correctness and freedom of speech. In a world where everyone apologizes for everything people take an issue with whether they mean it or not, I think this whole debate is making a wedge in the LGBT community. I don’t think Alaska’s video was offensive, I don’t think the moustache was intentionally mocking the appearance of trans women, I don’t think the death of the character (trans violence? c’mon, it was a hairdryer ) was as serious as it has been analysed and I don’t think Alaska or Rupaul are the least bit transphobic.

        If gay people boycotted every source of media with the slightest of heterosexist attitudes, we wouldn’t have watched a single comedic tv show or movie. Also, the things discussed are not a drip in the ocean of offense as the things that roll of the tongues of so many people worldwide, which surely is what should really be targeted. Not a reality TV show.

      • Sami

        Well to be fair, the transphobic slur wasn’t even about any trans individuals, it was about drag queens.

        YES OR NO: It would be offensive and wrong for a straight person to throw around slurs like ‘faggot’ and ‘
        cocksucker’ on television as long as he’s not directing them at actual gay people.

        And you can’t hold Rupaul and his show accountable for Alaska’s video.

        The people I hold accountable are the legions of cis gay men who rushed to defend a video that depicts my people as mustachioed men and jokes about us being murdered.

        I think this whole debate is making a wedge in the LGBT community

        TRANSLATION: “Shutup and stop whining about us slurring and mocking your people or we’re kicking you out.”

        I don’t think Alaska’s video was offensive, I don’t think the moustache was intentionally mocking the appearance of trans women, I don’t think the death of the character (trans violence? c’mon, it was a hairdryer ) was as serious as it has been analysed and I don’t think Alaska or Rupaul are the least bit transphobic.

        It’s a problem because lots of people who claim to be our allies are either lying through their teeth claiming they don’t see what’s offensive about a video which I repeat, portrays transwomen as mustachioed men and jokes about us being murdered

        If gay people boycotted every source of media with the slightest of heterosexist attitudes, we wouldn’t have watched a single comedic tv show or movie

        or talking down to us about how we’re oversensitive when we all know bloody damn well that they’d be absolutely furious if someone used homophobic slurs or made a video that depicted gay people as o0ffensive stereotypes and joked them being murdered.

        Also, the things discussed are not a drip in the ocean of offense as the things that roll of the tongues of so many people worldwide, which surely is what should really be targeted. Not a reality TV show.

        “Stop whining about this awful offensive thing when their are worse things out there!”

        Gee how original. That dismissive bull**** line has only been thrown at every minority who ever took offense at anything.

      • JC

        You are totally right about the “every minority taking offence” thing and I am sorry if my comments seemed to be dismissing your hurt. Obviously if it is on this website it must have been largely offensive and I have been thinking about this a lot today. And I would largely be pretty offended if I heard straight people throw around the word faggot that is true.

        My original point was the first time I watched the video I thought it was hilarious, and not once did I associate it with trans people. The language used in this article seems rather overzealous (trans violence, murder, transmysogyny), when we are talking about a satirical parody in which the most offensive moment was a character being shot with a hairdryer by a future drag queen who is also a ball of light.

        Also, I don’t know if that side by side picture in the article is supposed to be implying Alaksa was parodying a real person by the supposed similarities because the only common feature is glasses.

        I did not mean you should disregard your anger when you feel offended by things you have experienced, especially slurs, but I don’t personally see this video as being transphobic. I think this article is trying to over analyse a two minute amateur youtube video and create insulting aspects which don’t even exist in order to play some sort of victim.

        Although I could be wrong.

    • Dee Omally

      ***Can’t believe its an issue? Doesn’t say trans activist? Oversensitive internet troll? RPDR is at the bottom of the list of oppression? Know your enemies? Know when to pick your battles? Worse things out there? Our own community?***

      Someone please pinch me and tell me that I didn’t just read that. Someone please tell me that this isn’t exactly what has transpired…..are we all on the same page here?

      • Indiana

        yes you read right. Cis gendered gays dictating to us what we should or shouldnt be offeneded by. This person is part of the problem.

    • Sami

      Wait, this site doesn’t have html in the comments? I did all those italics and bolds for nothing?

    • Dee Omally

      JC, chronological reverse engineering often discloses what is concealed, revealing a pattern, leading to a fair and accurate conclusion based on the “totality of the circumstances.” Parts become a whole, particularly when historical context is considered.

      CHRONOLOGY [Dates are approx.]

      [March 17 2014] Our community, trans females with NO drag/transvestite performance history, took great offense upon discovery that, of all people, a purported “ally” had decided to publicize a word that often emits from the oral cavities of the transphobic. Armed with a broadcast pulpit, the D/Race Show had resurrected a trans label that, outside of the gay circuit, is deemed to be so offensive that most of us dare never even think about uttering the word.

      [[Gay males and trans females whose occupation is or has been “gender-bending”, a beautiful thing I hold, “live or die” by the ability to defy masculinity so successfully that their feminine beauty leaves the audience breathless, knowing than underneath all of the cosmetics and female accouterments is a male body. For this “small segment” of the trans community, it is crucial that it be understood that they are, simultaneously a “he” and a “she”—it is but a performance.]]

      LOGO, thankfully, agreed that the controversial (I posit that it was callously intentional) word, one often used as a pejorative/slur AGAINST trans persons outside of drag performances would no longer be used, and it was discontinued.

      [[I hold that whoever authorized the use of the pejorative/slur, although not considered as such by show producers, exercised a lack of judgement so severe that he or she lacks the qualifications to continue serving “in that office.”]]

      From my perspective, and that of most of my trans sisters, this concluded the incident, however little did we know that this was but the beginning of this debate. Those who failed to understand the toxicity of the word would not take this “defeat” quietly.

      [April 14, 2014] Trans pioneers Calpernia Addams and Andrea James, noted trans pioneers, choose to defend Hollywood, writing in such an ad-hominem manner that shocked not only me but hundreds of other trans females. Not only did this sully their reputations, but demonstrated that a very wide chasm exists between trans females with a drag performance history and the rest of us. Given friendships, alliances, and career dependency, I hold that they had little choice but to defend Hollywood, for therein lies their pantry.

      [April 22, 2014] A video debuts in Huffington Post “Gay Voices” section and in Youtube. It wasn’t a recipe video, a cute cats video, or a makeup tutorial. It was a “video metaphor” that, some say, parodied Parker Malloy. Parker who was upset no less than I, tweeted her extreme disdain, rightfully so. Although the Drag Race Disaster had utterly disregarded we in the trans community, earning and incurring our wrath, some in the gay community chose to strike back—-producing a video purportedly for comedic purposes, despite simulating killing of a trans person and defending the right to essentially do what they want in a show, offenses be damned.

      [[It became clear that we had riled up gay animus so strongly at having “gotten our way” that instead of a due and contrite apology, “they” chose to re-offend once more. Once again, the offense was so egregious that the video was removed from Huffington Post, a video that should have never posted in the first place.]]


      For almost 70 years now, since fellow veteran Christine Jorgensen made headlines as the first “widely known” transsexual, our community has continued to labor intensely, not to be recognized as female impersonators, but merely as females, like Christine and Dr. Renee Richards. Some labels—now considered as obscene outside of drag show performances—became part of the LGB lexicon. A “transsexual” was someone who transitioned sex + gender. A “transvestite” was a male, gay or not, who never sought a permanent sex/gender change, but for sexual fetish, performance, or for no reason, temporarily dressed and “became” female wholly in appearance. These labels gave way to “transgender”, a label so encompassing that truly it defies the ability to objectively define, creating immense confusion that makes even this discussion arduous.

      Sadly and tragically, gay Americans, some who were transvestites, and on some scale like Black Americans, became objects of scorn, animus and persecution by authorities emboldened by ubiquitous anti-sodomy laws pervasive at the time. Like Black America, our predecessors experienced violent and dehumanizing beatings such that it was inevitable that a backlash we now know as the Stonewall Riots would occur. Like Black America, LGBT civil rights would not come easy and never without a fight. The fight continues, and along with it measured, although explosive (2012/2013/2014) progress as the US government “retroactively” dusts off 1960’s and 1970’s Civil Rights Bills/Statutes, establishing legal precedence that whether at work or in school, gender identity is synonymous with sex and is protected.

      Through the years, the trans community, although aligned with the LGB, finds itself outside of protections otherwise accorded to the LGB, through localized legislation that surgically excludes trans protections, or in street parlance we find ourselves “tossed under the bus.” Although the military has been home to many trans enlistees such as I, although in non-transition, and with some serving now in stealth mode, I have faith that like 13 other nations that permit trans military service, soon enough so will the US. My faith is bolstered as I see the EEOC, DOJ, DOE, and OCR departments outside of DOD step up and reinforce that trans discrimination is sex discrimination, period.

      Trans violence based on a phantom “panic defense”—“oops, I didn’t know she had boy parts” so I killed him…her….” has been disproportionately part of a trans journey that the annual TDOR memorializes our fallen. For me, coming from public safety that often involved working alone, such danger has been inherently a part of my life that concern for trans violence was not a new or strange experience.


      Based on the preceding that details the recent chronological series of events that can only be described as internecine, and given the historical context, we in the trans community have had no choice but to rally in defense, given the specified offenses. Despite having been offended, and having no option but to respond in a firm and deservedly harsh manner toward those who have culpability, it is in the spirit of family “tough love” that we respond. Undoubtedly history will record that this was the pivotal moment that began the drift away from the LGB for the T. Separations can be amicable, and given the unique needs of the trans community far beyond choosing a mate, separate we must.

      Given all the above, I hope that the video will no longer seem “hilarious” or as a conveyance for parody. Viewed as a snapshot, it does appear so. Taken in totality, it is far from mere parody. It contains a message, one that is loud and clear and one that we emphatically reject. Given the totality, I hope it has become clear that the video needs no help with being insulting—on its face it is far worse than that.

  • Dee Omally

    I had the stomach to watch the trans-murder advocating video but once. My no-makeup pic, taken only a few days ago, reflects joy, but beneath my veneer lies a resume replete with years of protecting others from armed violence. I remain shocked that this video actually found an abode in HuffPo Gay voices for even a microsecond. This video could not have received any sunshine without someone’s approval, beyond tacit. It goes without saying that if the “trans-victim” depicted in the video…yes victim…had been gay, the video would have never seen sunshine.

    During childhood, I so abhorred violence that at 18 I didn’t hesitate to enlist in the USAF. As an MP, I stood between terrorists and the strongest weapon every devised by man, loaded on AF planes destined for a one-way trip to Russia. This was followed by civilian service in my home state of CA. I say this to underscore my sentiment (put mildly) in protest of a video that is clearly intended not only to intimidate us but to completely and irrevocably dehumanize trans persons. Dehumanization was Job #1 for the German government, before millions were wiped out, also objects of extreme hatred, not unlike the objects (trans) of this video.

    I cannot emphasize enough that this is far, far more than an “oops, we’re sorry for posting that video, so all is good now”. Hell no it’s not. You have taken a shot at us, much, much lower than a shot over the proverbial bow. You have used a trans effigy, and advocated for a “final solution”. You who have authored this video and played a part in its production and revelation not only proved the depth of your vitriol but like false persons of faith who hide behind the cross, you are nothing but traitors hiding behind the LGBT acronym. There is no more effective enemy than one who dwells within the perimeter, under the guise of “friendly.”

    The video “operatives” have proven to possess anti-trans venom so toxic that it exceeds that of TERFS, fake Christians, and others. There is no possible way to top this video, for nothing can top advocating not only violence but death itself. I know others share my sentiment in calling for (1) immediate removal of HuffPo “Gay Voices” section, for despite the value of its content, it is contaminated by anti-trans bias. (2) replace it with a non-transphobic editor and re-introduce it anew along with a “trans voices” section (3) publicize a full apology to the trans community….on your headline page with assurances to our community that such a violation will NEVER happen again.

    This video advocated violence and begs for at minimum these three immediate actions, at minimum. This is not a demand, but three actions that if not taken by HuffPo, will demonstrate that HuffPo and trans violence advocacy share the same bed. Advocating violence against anyone, except in self-defense, whether in “parody” or otherwise and offering it as an option by video message to the world is hatred that cannot be topped—–full accountability required goes without saying.

    • Dee Omally

      ADDED: Four (4) days have elapsed. The WMD (Weapon of Mass Disparagement) video that delivered the message—“lay off your show or else”—has been received. There are limits to all things, including speech. Free speech ends where public offense begins. Our defense is NOT about seeking the demise of any show, censorship, or thought policing.

      Let there be no mistake, trans persons have been extremely offended. Who could have foreseen that in 2014 a “show”, sponsored by LGB “family”, would in the most dastardly of ways uphold the most transphobic of all tenets—that there are “real” females and “all the rest”? This very belief, held within intransigent minds, is behind trans afflictions, including loss of precious lives. To think that his would be succeeded by a video depicting the killing of a trans person in transvestite effigy is so baffling beyond the ability to speak—as if killing someone in cold blood is the epitome of “funny”. Ironically, we are left to decide between “real” comedy and “all the rest”. Taken in chronological context, we know the tragic answer.

      There is never rationalization for wielding a show as a bully pulpit—-ever, and yet this is exactly what happened. This tort is so severe that like an outstanding bill that is overdue, the mere passage of time will not heal our community from this transgression. Like health and age, some things get worse with the passage of time. Our community has spoken in defense of such offense and we await an apology as recompense—one that is just as public as the offense…everywhere the stench of transphobia remains, including the LGBT “friendly” show.

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  • Huffing (tonpost)

    Usually accomplished with the inhalant of choice, silver or gold glitter spraypaint, which is sprayed onto a sock and then inhaled. Silver or gold glitter spraypaint is thought to have more solvent in it, making for a better high.

    The huffer sometimes gets the paint (pancake makeup) all over their face.

    Huffing causes severe brain damage and seriously afflicted individuals can be seen falling down and bruising themselves.

    Huffposts all fall down..

  • friday jones

    Oh look, it’s the avant-garde 3dgy artiste side of the drag community entertaining us again! It’s totally not like a blackface minstrel show with bad wigs instead of watermelon slices, right?

    • Men can get a tad hysterical when the womenfolk get uppity and fail to take direction on their proper station.

      How hard is it to understand that satire generally functions in a power structure and its purpose is challenging those with power. It’s theater 101.

      Punching down is about enforcing the existing power structure. No matter what language you dress it up in. No matter how much lipstick you smear on that hog.

    • Both sex and sexual orientation are social constructs. Activism centered around these social constructs is devoid of meaning.

      You may say that it’s objectively improved peoples lives and objectively diminished oppression engraved on people’s bodies – but – my theories & beautiful mind are more important than their lives.

      Especially when it doesn’t effect me. When it does, it’s an outrage!

  • George

    ‘The physical portrayal of “Joy Less” with moustache, wig, and deep voice doesn’t parody anything; it’s a direct, nasty jab at the legitimacy of the identities of trans women, playing on the same tired, bigoted trope that we’re just a bunch of men in wigs and dresses.’

    Nasty parody is still parody.

    Have you considered that, for many people, including drag queens, it is trans tropes which have grown tired? Have you considered that the trans community has displayed, in defending these tropes as beyond question, a hyper-sensitivity that leaves them very vulnerable to parody?

    Trans tropes such as “I’m a woman because I say I am” is not above social critique, and satire–let’s not forget–is a form of social critique.

    The moustache and deep voice are part of this critique. These symbols of maleness DO call into question “the legitimacy of the identities of trans women.” This is the point. The drag queens seem to be asking, “do trans women have the right to demand that their feelings are given more weight and legitimacy than our own culture, and the expression of our culture through language and performances?” And their answer to that question, in satirical form, seems to be “no, they do not.”

    • Um, sure -if they agree that the existence sexual orientation is open to debate. And ridicule. Because surely it’s not part of many peoples culture.

      • George

        The debate surrounding homosexuality was never about its existence (it was debated BECAUSE it exists) but about whether it was a normal variant of sexuality that requires neither cure nor punishment from a society. That debate, at least officially in North America, is over. But, gay and lesbian people have been ridiculed, and are ridiculed still, so I’m sure what kind of point you’re trying to make here.

        Sexual orientation identity and transgender identity are not comparable. The former is based on which sex, or sexes, one is attracted to romantically and sexually. The existence of sexual orientation is not open to debate.

        The latter is based on the belief that there is this essential thing called “gender,” that it is innate, and as such, that gender can be either aligned or misaligned with one’s biological sex. Beliefs ARE open to debate. Especially when non-believers are called bigots, insensitive, phobic, etc. for not having faith in gender identity.

        These identities have almost nothing in common. Which probably accounts, in large part, for the clash over language. And the satire.

      • friday jones

        George, all of that sort of ignores that most of us growing up at some point were IN the gay or lesbian communities, and many of us never really left. When I was in college, it wasn’t the straight-college-kids bars I went to, I unwound after classes at the local gay bars. Pre-transition, post-transition, I have always been queer. I identify as pansexual. We’re not the simple stereotypes you seem to think that we are.

      • George

        I said that these identities were not comparable, not that trans and gay people can’t be friends and drink beer together.

        And, what stereotypes? All people under the trans umbrella believe in essential gender, and that gender trumps sex. Pansexual included.

      • friday jones

        George, do you have the misapprehension that trans people and gay/lesbian people are two mutually exclusive groups? Aren’t you aware that trans people can be either same-sex attracted, opposite-sex attracted, or bisexual, and that only about 40% of post-transition trans* women are exclusively attracted to men? Most of us ARE LGB, either before or after transition, or both.

      • friday jones

        “All people under the trans umbrella believe in essential gender, and that gender trumps sex. Pansexual included.” -George

        Patently untrue, George, many transsexual women and men are radical feminists who transitioned for purely physical reasons, as in they were vastly uncomfortable with the physical reality of their sexual phenotypes and could only feel comfortable in their own bodies after surgery on their primary or secondary sexual characteristics.

        I myself, having completed a surgical transition in 1985, would be considered quite butch by people who care about such things. I wear jeans and t-shirts and black sneakers and sensible cotton underpants, never use any make-up, and when my hair gets too long for comfort I cut it myself. Yet I have a boyfriend, and have had girlfriends in the recent past.

        We are not the stereotypes you keep trying to make us out to be. In lieu of accepting our own stories about our own lives at face value, you prefer to make stuff up and then pretend that those straw men are us.

        You want to fight the concept of gender? Great, the straight community, run by the patriarchy, is r4esponsible for that nonsense. They’re over THATTAWAY. Quit punching down at us trans* folks as if we were responsible for your f-ed up cis society. You’re acting like jerks.

      • George

        “You want to fight the concept of gender? Great, the straight community, run by the patriarchy, is r4esponsible for that nonsense.”

        Correct. And so what do black sneakers and sensible cotton underwear have to do with THAT? For that matter, how does one fight the concept of gender with even more gender? Fifty shades of extra-special-poly-pan-butch-agender-femme-trans-cis-masculine-of-centre and counting. And, each one is oppressed.

        All of these identities, supposedly standing in opposition to patriarchal sex-roles, are actually deeply invested in them and would have no meaning without them. Wearing make-up, or not wearing make-up, has precisely zero effect on challenging power. Elevating acts of gender expression–including surgery–to the level of activism is nothing but privileged wanking.

      • Dee Omally

        Gender, as long as infants are born M or F, will always exist as a concept. Even without cosmetics, most females, will appear “female”, primarily from lack of facial hair which is why Asian trans MtFs achieve very high passing rates. Most males, of course will always appear “male”, primarily from the presence of facial hair. Most of us who bring up the “patriarchal” influence on gender are not seeking to eliminate “gender”, for that is unrealistic. What we allude to is the historically malevolent influence on females from males that prescribe an ideal female stereotype achievable by only a few, coupled with the male usurpation of power. First one that comes to mind is the expectation that women are expected to “yield” to men and to be meek and mild, despite toughness being both a male & female trait.

        The proof of such gender persecution is now a matter of history, as women’s rights have had to be achieved through struggle. You do bring up a good point, George, in the myriad of gender expressions which I believe is a beautiful thing, however Farcebook’s recent 50+ gender options served only to mock the trans community, rather than enable it. In regards to activism, or as you refer to as “privileged ‘masturbation'”, any community who finds itself disenfranchised has no other option does it?

      • George

        “Gender, as long as infants are born M or F, will always exist as a concept.”

        You are talking about sex here–male and female–not gender. And throughout your comment, you use these terms interchangeably. Sex is not a concept; it is a material reality.

      • Dee Omally

        Yes, am talking about sex—as determined by an M.D. at birth and also about gender, a visually judgement based on societal norms of gender expression. In the past both meant completely different things. Not so any longer….often they are used in interchangeable ways, despite being technically different. Once the clothes come on, “gender” alignment traits are used to judge or infer a person’s sex, which usually but not always is a match.

        What many don’t know is that there is one’s sex—as in sex organs—and then there is one’s sex—as in shown on an ID. Unless there is a need + right to disrobe someone, the ID sex is considered as valid and factual, regardless of opinion. Yes, sex is a material reality and so is gender a very social reality as well. Within transgender discussion, the issue of “sex” has relevance, for the reasons I have mentioned, but beyond arguing genes, chromosomes, or DNA for the purpose of “being right” or “winning the discussion”, sex organs matter almost nothing.

      • Dee Omally

        *visual judgment…

      • friday jones

        Oh for the love of Pete, for you the personal is political and by the commutative property pf bullshit the political is personal, is that it? I wasn’t pointing out that I wear sneakers because I’m claiming it as a uniform identity, I was pointing out that I am not responsible in any way for your struggle against the concept of gender simply because I’m transsexual. My feelings about my own primary and secondary sexual characteristics are not what causes or bolsters the straight paradigm of gender, that’s a product pf the entire patriarchal gendered society, of which you and I are just both parts. I pointed out that I dress androgynously because I am not the stereotyped straw trans woman you seem to be addressing.

        So are we actually talking, or are you just lecturing me about how much better you understand me than I do myself like some pompous MRA twit would?

    • Dee Omally

      Nice try at diversion but it failed miserably. Even though this conversation has branched off into comments that can only be described as hostile, conflict-ridden, and with battle lines being marked out such that it might appear that its drag queen vs trans queens or gay vs trans the issue of contention was the use of words considered to be transphobic outside of LGBT circles. Drag race should have stuck to a contest between “female or drag”, not “female or fake…pardon me she-m***”

      LOGO has corrected this. Without due apology or remorse, an explanation that can only be described as an insult to trans intelligence was publicly stated: “The RuPaul Drag Race has been ‘newly sensitized’. Ya rite. Like a 3 year old who had its toy stolen, and in unbridled fury, we now have a video that can only be described as advocating a trans murder. Spin it, re-label it, explain it….if Parker feels that she is the intended target of this video….Houston we have a problem. A BIG and nasty problem. It is one thing to parody, and quite another to send a message, veiled or not.

    • Alecto

      This isn’t a parody it’s bigotry. Is blackface a parody? Because that’s what it means to me.

      • Dee Omally

        @Alecto…..absolutely correct. It’s actually bigotry, disguised as parody, which is why I state that they “delivered a message” that we received….potent, hateful, angry, and border-line criminal (subject to how Parker M. interprets it).

        It is beyond astonishing that in 2014, while the straight community is coming around in our favor more and more, with much more work remaining, the gay community has become our #1 nemesis….by design and intent.

  • Evie

    Can’t we please just start our own movement? Away from gay people? I mean, the more heartless and stubborn they get, the more I just want to separate myself from them…

    • Tom

      Thanks for painting gay folks with a broad brush as heartless and stubborn. Truly enlightened thinking, there Evie.

      If every act of kindness and empathy from gay folks towards transfolks was blasted on huffpo, you would probably feel differently.

      • Evie

        You’re welcome. Now fuck off.

      • Dee Omally

        I am fervent in opposition against all phobia, same-sex or trans. I don’t get the impression that Evie truly painted a broad brush else she would have use the “all” qualifier. Being gay or lesbian are the flip side of the trans coin, sexually speaking which is why speaking out against “all” gay/lesbian persons is tantamount to pointing fingers at ourselves as well.

        Trans issues begin where the sex act ends however. Even after showering up, trans challenges continue, unable to remain hidden behind the bedroom door. This is where (through no fault of their own) concerns for our issues are not shared by the LGB community and why Evie is absolutely correct in that we “need our own movement”.

        Gay bashing or trans bashing is without excuse and despicable. What is happening currently is trans bashing by some in the gay community who caricature gender so much so that none of us are surprised by their callousness in the use of “she-mail” in the public domain. Trans supporters are found in both gay and straight communities, and all of this is an example of the exact opposite, which happens to come some in the gay community who under the “color of authority” are abusing their fame and power showing themselves to be no different than middle school bullies who find delight in mocking those who are different.

      • Hey – there are all kinds of people in every group. There are gay men who are wonderful beautiful people who are part of my family.

        I love them.

        And there are gay guys who are assholes. These guys are the latter.

        Call me when HuffPo allows a trans editor to post a homophobic video advocating murdering gay men and I’ll have some sympathy for folks like Georgie Boy. Who thinks we’re a figment of our imagination – but his subjective experience is beyond questioning.

        Because entitlement.

  • Ara Ca’Tastrofee

    Yes, I’ve transitioned. Yes, my body matches my brain. Yes, I’m no longer “crossing” anything so I consider myself “cis” now. But I still hate how gay (and straight) people think its hilarious to co-op our slurs thinking they can “take them back” especially when they never owned them. Andrea (and her ex-DQ pal) are an embarrassment to the trans community. I mean, doesn’t she had some fake internet transsexual to expose or something; seems like that’s the only thing she does well.

  • Dee Omally

    Now here’s the bad news: in California PC section 422 addresses threats that are communicated, in whatever medium. If in fact Parker believes that she has received a threat (parody, humor or “joke” aside) based on this video, this story is just beginning and has now entered the legal arena. You all may have been thinking that we in the trans community think this whole “language policing” thing has been “much ado about nothing” but you simply don’t know when to stop. This video is no joke and the message has been delivered. You have tossed the ball and now it is up to the recipient to follow through, not you.

    The tragedy here is further enhanced by the fact that many in the gay community have become so comfortable in California such that they have turned their sights on the trans community, forgetting that in many parts of the US to this day being gay or trans is still extremely hazardous. To think that many of you in the gay community have not only disparaged the trans community but are now resorting to veiled threats is disgusting beyond belief. Someone in the gay community must step up and take charge of these loose cannons.

    • That is way I am thankful for my friend Mitch. He rights for and has written several articles on how shitty gaming culture is for Trans people. He has also been in conflict with other writers off screen because they feel that Transgender gaming issues have no place on the blog and make good jokes. Read some of his stuff, its seriously awesome!

  • Dee Omally

    Ha. Ha. Ha. So the point was? There were several, beginning with the point made that show ownership entitles one to hate speech…yes hate speech. Why elevate it to hate speech as opposed to controversial speech? Simple. This hate video, that pretends to be humorous metaphor, that’s why. Taken in full sequential contest following RuPaul having been forced, as he should have been, to stop using transphobic hate speech in his show, this video is clearly not humor but a threat to someone. Yes, it is communicating a threat. This is exactly what it is doing, of course pretending to be “funny”, as if killing someone is a joke. Shall we guess as to the identity of the intended recipient of this message……hmmmm there are hints….blogger…twitter activist.

    You know, the word “she-***” that was promoted in the Drag Race disaster is one used by the gay community as a tool for humor. What is the intersection with the trans community? This very same word has historically been used AGAINST the trans community as hate speech. In fact, trans children and adults have probably heard this word as they lay dying, victims of trans violence.

    There is nothing complicated about a show promoting hate speech…nothing. It is simple. Some words should never be promoted…ever. This “conflict” was one long overdue, as I suspected that trans-bitter enemies camped out not only in the straight community but the gay community as well. The RuPaul disaster and now this video proves to me, sadly, how correct I was. The gay community and drag show performers, some self-described as “trans”, have long used the “she-***” word and to them it is not to be taken “seriously”. For the rest of us that don’t see gender as humorous or a performance, there is nothing funny about hate speech. It is as serious as advocating the murder of a trans person, which this video does so well.

    • Dee Omally

      *referring to the point of the video on HuffPo, not this article.

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  • Marie

    Oh, come on! Who could possibly take any of this seriously! And what’s with the silly, pretentious made-up words like “cis” (which has something to do with the field of chemistry)? What a bunch of politically correct bullies and thought police.

    • Aura Hazel

      made up? yet recognised in medical journals since 96. Did it never enter yolur head that we get enough abuse outside, we don’t needf it within.

    • Elizabeth

      “From the Latin preposition cis (“on this side of”).”
      So someone who is Cis Gendered is “on the side of their gender” Not really that hard if you think about it for a split second. Yelling that words are “Made-up” doesn’t change that they have been around for a long long time.

    • Dee Omally

      *correction: “Taken in full sequential CONTEXT…”


      From an LGB perspective you would be absolutely correct; words normally considered as disparagement outside LGBT circles are not considered offensive when used internally. In fact, often they take on benevolent meaning. Both the “fa*ott and she-m**e” words are used with impunity. It is time to stop pretending that this is what we are contesting: passing gas isn’t a problem until someone else hears you.

      We all know that the meaning of a word is contingent upon the source, the context, and the intended recipient. In school we are taught to discern the message contained “between the lines” such as the implied threat in this despicable video that follows only after the Drag Race was forced…yes forced to discontinue hate speech. It is beyond shameful that in 2014, we in the trans community are under attack by some, not all, in the gay community, yet this is exactly where we are. Such provocation is far beyond appalling.

      No, the issue isn’t the use of a word within LGBT circles, but OUTSIDE of same where words take on entirely different meanings. Let’s stop pretending that the “she-**e” word has a benevolent meaning within the public community, one that understands very little about full-time transgender issues, not to be confused with drag performances.

      Your last sentence, respectfully, demonstrates a callous, stubborn and recalcitrant posture that “blames the victim” and not the aggressor. It is stupid beyond belief for the reasons I have just addressed. Hate speech isn’t free speech and therein lies the bullying and malicious thoughts—not from those of those of us who dare to call a spade a spade. The egregious violation…yes violation…never to be confused with “thought-policing” was that someone outside the trans community, a gay male, actually and rather stupidly believed that in 2014, following many positive trans developments in 2013, it was safe to take a transphobic word and promote it in a “show” that dared to compare “real” females with “fake” females. To defend this violation is to stand AGAINST the trans community, period.

    • “What a bunch of politically correct bullies and thought police.”

      The same thing conservatives say when you tell them not to call gay people “faggots”.

      • Dee Omally

        How quickly they do forget….truth be told.

  • Sami

    Not surprised in the least. Nor will I be surprised when I wake up tomorrow and find that huffpo has dug up another ‘icon’ of my community who I’ve never heard of to lecture me about why it’s perfectly okay for a cis gay man to go on television and throw around a bunch of transphobic slurs in front of a mostly cis audience who consider him an authority on trans people.

  • To be fair – we may need to lighten up and follow Noah Michelson’s and the Huffington Post’s example with Matthew Sheppard. Who can forget the hilarious video Noah produced about Matthew being murdered?

    You have to wonder if Noah’s and Half Baked Alaska’s mothers dropped them on their heads when they were babies. It’s the only answer that permits one to give any credence to their self professed clueless honesty on so many issues here.

    Half Baked Alaska claiming he’s just indulging in some good humor – you shouldn’t read POLITICS into it. Yet dripping with misogyny, wallowing in her violent fantasies towards woman and the literal reduction of women to body parts. Thinking she can shut people up by threats of violence.

    And dimly telling people they don’t pay her…..ahem….perhaps you might learn how your industry and market works? When Viacom – (here’s a hint – it’s not RuPauls Drag Race’s freedom of speech – Viacom owns LOGO) get’s its product included in a basic cable package – people pay you – whether they want to or not. Perhaps someone can sit her down an talk really slowly.

    And maybe trans people can ask their cable providers to remove this offensive product from the basic cable package. Why should I pay for something or someone like her? Who threatens to kill people like me? There’s nothing I want to watch on it in either case. Let people who want to watch it pay for it, like HBO.

    And Noah ahistorically and disengenuosly asking why aren’t DQ’s blah blah blah. As if he never saw all of the she-m### porn video’s being sold through the last 4 decades and who was being objectified in them. Or the ads in the back of newspapers or the women who worked in those little booths where guys like him fed in money and told them what to do to themselves?

    They weren’t DQ’s – who started appropriating the term like other terms that were applied to trans woman and cis woman for that matter because their acts in large part revolves around them making fun of being women or having female body parts and the tension of that not being true. They don’t call themselves gentlemen on stage, they call themselves girls. Sometimes even “fish” – yet – no one would say – “what do you mean fish is an insult towards woman? Drag Queens use it to refer to themselves all the time.”

    Dumber than a box of anal lube.

    • I agree with your general points but – as the parent of a child who was indeed dropped on his head as a baby and who has a type of cerebral palsy as a result – I respectfully ask that we can drop the ableism when we’re calling out other kinds of bigotry, pretty please? :o)

      • You’re right. And I apologize.

        They’re both being willfully obtuse – in intellectually dishonest manners. And if the state of Alaska were dropped on anything, it was her face. Can you imagine how she gets by without a 55 gallon drum of dermablend? Again, this is why folks need to change into drab when they go home – and why people ask – Honey, why the long face?

        Noah might do well to listen to a Huffpo writer when they gave some well intentioned advice to Alec Baldwin when he was throwing some slurs around that didn’t apply to him. Best not to double down. Best not to blame those you’ve vilified. Bringing in violence is less than helpful. A little humility is called for.

        A few snippets:

        “Really? Really? Again, maybe you don’t know that that word is incredibly offensive and hurtful to many people, but at this point, if you’re really the LGBT ally you claim you are, you should.”

        “I get it: It sucks to be attacked, and it sucks to have to be the bigger person, but sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do.”

        “I also think how you’ve handled a handful of situations is unfortunate, and the words you’ve reached for when you needed to vent your frustrations are unacceptable.”

        “Why do we get so heated about words? Because words matter. Because the things that we say (especially when it’s someone with great visibility like you) have an influence on our culture.”

        Hmmm….maybe HuffPo should hire this respectful Noah Michelson guy instead of the one who posts videos about murdering trans people when he loses his temper?

      • Im Offended

        There is no end in sight to who you can offend and how you can offend them. Jesus Christ…

        Whoops..just offended Christians. And now I offended people who get offended at everything.

  • Andrea James is a cis collaborator.

    • Sassafras

      Wasn’t Andrea just a couple of weeks ago using her coattails-riding attendance at the GLAAD media awards as proof that she’s a super activist, and now she’s insinuating GLAAD is part of the fascist thought police? What a ridiculous hypocrite.

  • Thankfully, HuffPost has removed it, if you follow the link you posted on Facebook the video has been removed and this sites in its place;

    “Note: This page originally contained a video by drag artist Alaska Thunderfuck. We believed that the clip was one example of how diverse gender-variant communities are currently engaged in a complicated conversation about important issues regarding language, identity and privilege. However, we now realize that the video is patently offensive to many people and ultimately now feel it goes beyond being useful in this discussion and therefore have removed it from the site. We apologize.”

    So we do now have an apology. A little too late if you ask me.

  • Nice work. : )

  • Unfortunately, HuffPo’s cis male bias is hardly news.