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Letterman’s Freakish Trans Joke


What’s with these late night jokesters? First we had Jay Leno’s Ryan Phillippe moment. Now we hear that David Letterman had a laugh at pregnant trans man Thomas Beatie last night, including referring to him as an “androgynous freak show.” There’s a reason why we don’t watch this shit…

By:           Andrew Belonksy
On:           Apr 2, 2008
Tagged: , , , , , ,

  • 15 Comments
    • Rick
      Rick

      well, i thought it was funny. it IS an androgynous freak show.

      Apr 2, 2008 at 1:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Snoodle
      Snoodle

      Not funny and rather offensive…but his Top Ten’s (and his jokes in general) have always rather been that way. Conan or Craig Ferguson for me :)

      Apr 2, 2008 at 2:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CitizenGeek
      CitizenGeek

      I thought that list was pretty funny, save for the “freakshow” comment which was perhaps too far.

      Still, it’s totally understandable that a trans person who wants to be a man, yet gets pregnant will be the butt of jokes. It’s absolutely absurd to demand that people refer to you as a man when you’re pregnant. Sorry.

      Apr 2, 2008 at 2:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pete
      Pete

      Hey Citizengeek, is it absolutely absurd that non-biological gay parents be referred to as “dads”? A lot of conservatives would agree, but a non-biological parent or gay shouldn’t prevent someone from being considered a father. Nor should being a biological parent and a non-biological male prevent him from being considered a guy. Ten years of living as a dude and the decision to reproduce gives everyone permission to brand him “woman”? That seems absolutely absurd to me.

      I hate defending the obnoxious media whore that was the target of the Letterman comment. Especially because his shameless exposure to an unsympathetic media and public are opening us all up to attacks and attempts to invalidate our identities.

      Apr 2, 2008 at 3:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      Provocative statements get these inertia-driven shows some buzz…I had forgotten all about David Letterman..and its low risk here…will the pregnant transgender men ALL boycott the show?

      Apr 2, 2008 at 3:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kevin Wilen
      Kevin Wilen

      I’ve got to say there is something that doesn’t sit well with me about this story If you want to be a man, be a man! This is a freakshow and an embarrassment to our community. I’m tired of being lumped together with people who have operations performed to alter what they were born with. My struggle as a gay man is different. This isn’t about a deviation from social norms, which is really what the gay struggle is about, but about nature’s norms. I’ve extensively studied gender queers in college, and am not sold on the concept of a third sex. In many ways this underlines the idea that this isn’t about a biological transformation but one based specifically on image and gender norms implied wholly by societal trends.

      Apr 2, 2008 at 3:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • shivadog
      shivadog

      Kevin: Do you realize how much you sound like a “christian right” bigot? “nature’s norms”? Isn’t that just like the “it’s against nature” argument homophobes always use? “if you want to be a man, be a man”. That’s pretty stupid coming from a fag, maybe you should “be a man” and start having sex with women instead of men. Do you really think most people view you as any better that a trans-person? We are all a “freakshow” to the bigots and haters.

      Apr 2, 2008 at 4:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • queerunity
      queerunity

      what an asshole, im emailing him

      http://www.queersunited.blogspot.com

      Apr 2, 2008 at 5:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CitizenGeek
      CitizenGeek

      Kevin, in fairness, does have a point. People who surgically alter their gender and people like me, who were born gay, really have little in common.

      Apr 2, 2008 at 5:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shawn
      Shawn

      CitizenGeek, I too am a gay man, but I feel that there are some connections between the “gay” community and the “trans” community; namely, we both get undeserved hostility from the misunderstandings and ignorance of the larger, hetero mainstream.
      Yesterday, for example, I was reading some postings on the US magazine site about the Jay Leno “gay look” thing and I would say that 95% of the comments were moderately to strongly homophobic. Really hostile, negative, ignorant comments. Lots of bible crap, lots of you people brought AIDS to this country, lots of “you can change,” etc. I posted, telling them that they were poison and pointed out some examples of where I thought they were being extremely homophobic. I haven’t gone back to look to see what additional hostility my comments engendered. I’m not sure that I will go back to read them; it makes me too angry.
      I would guess that if US magazine posts the Beatie story, the comments will be similarly negative.
      My personal guess is that Thomas Beatie is using this situation as a way to be a trans activist. And I respect that. That is a brave thing to stand up against huge ignorance and hostility. And when I heard the Letterman “freakshow” comments, it really hurt my heart.
      –Shawn

      Apr 2, 2008 at 6:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pete
      Pete

      Thanks, Shawn, for grasping what T’s and LGB’s have in common. We both do stuff that goes against proscribed notions of gender and sexuality. It bothers people sometimes. It makes us all queers.

      When straight people give gays that ignorant blather about the Bible and how they can change or should change or are “against nature”, their beliefs are scarily similar to the ideas espoused by moron gays who think they’re somehow acceptable and trans people are the real freaks. People have a tough time swallowing gender and sexual variation. That is why I think it is important for us to stand united under a big, happy all-inclusive queer umbrella and respect one another.

      Plus, I’m gay AND trans. I’m looked down upon for being fag by straight people, only to be surrounded by gays in “queer” spaces to be told that I’m “going against nature” or “playing into gender norms” or what have you. Maybe I should start picking on someone lower than me on the sexual minority totem pole to get my kicks… does anyone know of any good blogs about furries or people into infantilism? I want to play moral superior too!

      Apr 2, 2008 at 7:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RPCV
      RPCV

      Freak show all the way. Why do gays always do such stupid things that bring such negative attention to us?

      If there was only a pill to reverse my sexuality…

      Apr 2, 2008 at 7:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Austehn
      Austehn

      I’m gonna weigh in late in the game and cautiously agree with those that think the Beatie is pushing the envelope a little too far. While I do cringe at the namecalling, as we all probably know the feeling of being a recipient to it, I do believe that part of being female, at least for humans, is to be the carrier of the embryo, hence the uterus. I think the only exception would be seahorses. So if Beatie wants to be considered a man, which I’m assuming he does, given the context of the stories I’ve read, then he needs to participate in what is decidedly male, and *not* participate in what is decidedly female.

      So to say that Beatie is being a trans activist, I think, is incorrect. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t trans people want to be considered the gender that they are trying to become? So why is he/she getting pregnant? There are other ways to achieve parenthood, as many, many gay and straight couples know.

      Apr 2, 2008 at 7:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kevwyn
      kevwyn

      i will admit being a trans man and getting pregnant(privately)and being so public about the situation in todays media market is asking for a little more attention than you prob should have at this time. Coming forward i understand was to draw attention to the genderism this person is experiencing in society specifically in the world of healthcare for thier baby. that being said it dissapoints me that this parent is the target of another mainstream joke campaign.queers of all gender identities continue to be targets and it has to stop, the “n” word has been banned its time orientation jokes find there way to that list as well. as a gay man i am inspired by the trans people in my day to day life they have had a much harder struggle than i have had or will ever have.

      Apr 3, 2008 at 12:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gabriel
      Gabriel

      Austehn, some people who identify as “trans” don’t necessarily want to be the “other” gender, and don’t quite fit into either gender. They fall somewhere else on the spectrum of what society constructs as “gender.” It’s way more than biology, and I feel that people who aren’t afraid to express who they are inside, like Thomas, are beautiful reminders of the unlimited complexity of what being human means. He transcends gender. I hope all of the best for him and his family.

      Apr 3, 2008 at 11:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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