Trans Groups Furious At Anderson Cooper For Exploitative Talk-Show Segment

When Anderson Cooper promised changes were coming when his eponymous talk show returned from summer hiatus, we thought maybe the newly out silver fox would be talking about his private life or taking a more personal stance on the issues.

We didn’t think he be rebranding himself as Jerry Springer 2.0.

Yesterday on Anderson Live, Cooper welcomed a married, heterosexual man who claims he began identifying as a trans woman after starting a hair-loss treatment. Now known as Mandi, the guest was joined by her ex-wife, Michelle, who opens up about how Mandi’s transformation has affected their son.

A segment about how transitioning can affect a family is certainly a worth topic, but one that suggests it was Daddy’s Rogaine that made him want to be a woman is trashy and irresponsible.

It was only December that Cooper did a respectful and informative segment on trans children and their parents.

“[We] are surprised, saddened and disappointed that a respected show like Anderson Live would give credence to this type of sensationalism and misinformation. This segment is just another case of sensationalizing an already marginalized population plain and simple,” said National Center for Transgender Equality director Mara Keisling in a statement. “In the past, Anderson Cooper and his team have earned a great deal of respect from trans people for their coverage of our issues. [Today], they’ll throw all of that away. Worst of all, they seem set on misinforming the public about the causality of trans identity.”

The episode description on the Anderson Live site claims Mandi was invited, “not to give the impression that what she says is what every transgender person goes through, but because everyone has their own experience, and we want to respect each and every person’s story.”

But trans entertainment editor Janet Mock was not having it: On Twitter, she responded, “WTF?! Is this Anderson or Jerry Springer/Maury?”

Good question, Janet.