I was on my laptop today scrolling through news articles and funny videos on the interwebz when I noticed that my TV was tuned in to The View. Sometimes I leave the TV on in my room to keep things from getting too quiet, and I’d just been watching Jeopardy! the night before, so the magic of ABC miraculously joined me with the *ever-charming* Raven and company. I don’t really like The View; I find most of its panelists annoying, and I basically only pay attention to it when some offensive thing either they or one of their guests has said trends on Twitter. I didn’t care enough to change the channel, though, so I stuck it out with my homegirls while they discussed whatever hot-button issues they chose to highlight (I wasn’t listening to them). Eventually they brought out special guest DL Hughley, who is apparently an actor and comedian.
I’m still laughing at bizarre GIFs when I suddenly hear Caitlyn Jenner’s name mentioned, at which point I start to pay attention. I figured I should listen up since everyone seems to have something to say about her these days. I wish I hadn’t. DL Hughley starts talking about a joke he made comparing Caitlyn to Mrs. Doubtfire, which people took offense to. He insists that he doesn’t regret making the joke, is not obligated to think Caitlyn is beautiful, and highlights Laverne Cox as an example of an attractive transwoman who has transitioned convincingly. I’m annoyed at this point, but he also said something about how it’s just his opinion and blah blah I’m not afraid of Twitter blah blah blah. He also conveniently avoids referring to her as she while talking about her, but whether or not that was intentional is open to interpretation. Here’s why it bothered me.
To quote Kelis: you don’t have to love Caitlyn. You don’t even have to like Caitlyn. But you will respect her.
Expressing that you don’t personally find Caitlyn beautiful? Not so nice, but not necessarily disrespectful. Mocking her for not passing as a cisgender woman as well as Laverne Cox does? That’s disrespectful AND transphobic. So many people are so obsessed with trans people passing as convincingly as possible that they shame those who cannot, which serves only to uphold gender norms and ostracize people for something they cannot control. Who cares if Laverne passes better than Caitlyn does? That doesn’t make her better or more worthy of praise. They’re both transwomen living their truths, and both merit dignity when mentioned in conversation. What irritated me most was Hughley acting like what he was saying was so radical, or original, or edgy. There is nothing edgy or funny about transphobia. I would venture to say that most people are at least somewhat transphobic, since most people don’t even really get what trans is. Most people also don’t seem to grasp that your views can still be bigoted even if you don’t express outright hate.
So everyone on The View had some laughs at Caitlyn’s expense, and no one seemed to take issue with anything that was said. Awesome. I’m hoping that some other people watching felt similarly about it, but the reality is that that’s probably not the case. Unfortunate. I guess I can take comfort in guessing what DL is supposed to stand for. I’ll keep it PG and go with Dingbat Loudmouth.