Radio Station Turns Transphobic DJs Debacle Into Teachable Moment

WBZAFMRochesterNYTheBreakfastBuzzwithKimberlyBeckcelebrate10thAnniversaryNo matter how you feel about the policing of transphobic speech in the media (and there are certainly varying opinions from many communities), can we at least agree that by 2014 you shouldn’t get away with this on your radio program?

Speaking about a recent local ordinance granting transgender healthcare to Rochester city employees and their families, Breakfast Buzz hosts Kimberly Ray and Berry Beck referred to transgender people as “nut jobs,” adding that “The dude can look like a lady and the city is going to pay for it!”

Well after being suspended indefinitely, their station decided to can them for good.

But rather than leave it at that, 89.9 Rochester is using the embarrassing incident as a teachable moment, inviting trans activists Lanie and Maur Delaney onto the program to provide real information about the healthcare issue and foster an actual conversation about transgender people living in the community.

For their part, Kimberly and Beck have issued an apology, though it’s too little too late to save their careers at 89.9. Their statement reads in part:

We are very sorry for the hurt and pain we have caused anyone, especially those in the Transgender community and their friends and families…

Our attempt was to discuss a controversial healthcare issue; however our lack of sensitivity and understanding of the Transgender people and their plight created 12 minutes of radio we that wish we could take back…

We fully understand Entercom’s position and their decision to dismiss us…

We certainly don’t doubt whether they wish they could take it back, but who wouldn’t want to take something back after it led to their unemployment?

Still, it’s promising (and unfortunately fairly novel) to see an actual conversation spring up out of a controversy.


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  • jayj150

    The main point they were trying to make, that a fully male-bodied athlete does not belong competing with females is shared by most sensible people. Why is it whenever we hear of transsexual athletes it’s the male-bodied ones going against women?. Why do we not hear of female-to-male transsexual athletes going against the men?, I would love to see that. The few instances of transsexual male-identified athletes out there include people who transitioned once they retired, or those who transitioned to male but still chose to compete against women(Kye Allums, Keelin Godsey, etc.). Talk about hypocrisy cowardliness.

  • jayj150

    @Dan Tracer: Yeah, I know, that’s exactly the point I was making. It’s always male-to-female transpeople, but yeah, at least this one is going against the men, unlike Fallon Fox and that Crossfit one, and MANY others. I remember this case. But where are the female-to-male trans with the balls to go against the boys?. There are in fact female-to-male identified athletes(like the ones I mentioned above), but interestingly they choose to remain women while on the field.

  • Thedrdonna

    @jayj150: The issue of trans athletes in now way excuses all the other transphobic crap they spewed, but let’s get into the conversation about trans athletes: neither of the athletes you mention had started taking testosterone. Muscle levels are regulated almost exclusively by the level of testosterone in a person’s body. An athlete who has male-normal levels of T should compete with the men. An athlete who has female-normal levels of T should play with the women. The regulating agencies agree with this, and their regulations are written accordingly. You’ve given no substantive evidence that this is unfair, and even less evidence that that excuses the “trans people are crazy” hideousness these two spread around. The radio station responded to this beautifully and turned it into a learning moment, but it sounds like there are those who refuse to let learning take away their prejudices.

  • jayj150

    @Thedrdonna: Where are the transmen with the balls to go against real men?. Where are they?. If what makes you a man is how you feel inside, then transmen should be playing against other men. The truth is transmen don’t have the courage to play against real men, as oppose to their fellow transwomen who won’t miss a chance to appropriate women’s spaces. You can be all your condescending, disingenuous self, but the reality is inconsistency=hypocrisy.

  • Thedrdonna

    @jayj150: Hmm, would you say it’s hypocritical like an anonymous internet commenter railing against a class of people online? I’m willing to bet you don’t advocate against trans people in the real world. Oh, also: Taylor Edelmann, Chris Mosier, even your own “example” of Keelin Godsey is now competing against men. The reason nobody worries about that is because it’s assumed that assigned-females-at-birth are uniformly weaker than assigned males, regardless of their hormonal levels. The only people who seriously push that claptrap, though, are those with a prejudice and no more than a high-school level understanding of biology. All the major sports orgs have done a lot of research and their policies have been formed as a result of verifiable fact, rather than hearsay, assumption, and anonymous internet commentary.

  • vonric

    kudos to the radio station for attempting to turn the moment, provide individuals who can educate rather than mock and revile……

  • Mezaien

    White republican Christian are the enemy of the world.

  • Thedrdonna

    @inbama: You just proved the point I was making: there is significant overlap between the genders in terms of athletic ability, and thus need to be shielded. That link is an argument against sex-segregated sports, which would completely erase any (logical) complaint anyone could hhave against trans athletes competing.

  • Thedrdonna

    @Thedrdonna: “and thus no need to be shielded.”

  • NoelG

    @jayj150: You are speaking out of ignorance because you don’t know how many transmen try out for men’s teams. I guess because it’s not something that can be sensationalized it doesn’t occur in your mind.

  • NoelG

    To make a bullet-point list:
    – Only one of the two people on the radio show made the transphobic comments but they were both fired.
    – The company that owns the radio station has now managed to fire or not renew the contracts of every single of it’s morning radio teams. The company used this incident as an excuse to fire the on-air team to save money.
    – If anyone were really interested in having a teachable moment, they could have arranged a discussion including the radio show personalities. It’s not too late for anyone to become educated. There was no reason for anyone to lose their job.

  • Danny

    Fun debate.

Comments are closed.