The trickle-down effect of trans ‘jokes’

June 1, 2012 § 1 Comment

If you haven’t already, go now and read Paris Lees’ excellent Indie piece about the unacceptable nature of mainstream cis ‘jokes’ about trans people.


What really sticks with me, each time I read the excuses trotted out by the people making or condoning this kind of ‘comedy’ (I’m going to run out of quotation marks), is the way in which trans people don’t seem to exist to them beyond a punchline. That because, for so long, they’ve relegated us to the roles of ‘sad mannish tranny’, ‘deceptively enticing she-male’ and ‘creepy cross-dressing pervert’ there’s no longer any mental space left to fit in the actual reality of who we are. It’s dehumanising in the extreme. It makes you wonder – do they realise that they meet trans people on a regular basis? Do they know that we come in every shape/size/flavour, pursue every kind of career, live wide and varied and different lives? Do they really think that those vile stereotypes they trot out in the name of comedy are true, and that’s all there is to us – or do they know better and don’t care, because we don’t deserve that basic acknowledgement of equality?


There’s a famous saying of Bion’s that gets stuck in my head every time this situation arises: “Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, yet the frogs do not die in sport but in earnest.”

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