The Whitney Museum chooses silence in an effort to displace, downplay, and negate valid public outrage regarding their policies, ethics and leadership. By Jamara Wakefield May 17th marked the start of the 79th Whitney Biennial. The Biennial is a contemporary art exhibition, featuring typically young and lesser-known artists, at the Whitney Museum of American Art […]
The Breakfast Club Is Normalizing Violence Against Trans Women
There is no room for the active dehumanization of trans women, we’re done with your shit and we’re fighting back.
Last week, Janet Mock was a guest on the popular radio show, The Breakfast Club. The author and activist is on a press tour to promote her newest book, Surpassing Certainty and she bravely appeared on the historically misogynistic show. The interview was anything but professional and things went very awry when hosts DJ Envy and Charlamagne tha GOD put Mock in a hot seat of inappropriate and invasive questioning that focused heavily on her body in a way that can only be described as just plain ol’ harassment.
Mock was subject to antagonizing questions such as, “what made you become a transgender as opposed to a gay male?”, “You had your penis cut off?”, “where did you get your boobs?” and at one point in the interview, Charlamagne tha GOD, bluntly asks, “do you have a clit?” in which Mock is visibly uncomfortable answering.
It became obvious this wasn’t just an interview (if an interview at all), but blatantly transphobic bullshit used to insult, dehumanize and humiliate Mock and millions of other trans folks. Unfortunately, the radio show hosts didn’t do their research on the transgender community. The hosts even admitted to not reading her book – perhaps if they had, they would have learned to treat Mock with a modicum of respect.
Time and time again, Mock and every single visible trans person who has ever been interviewed, have stated that focusing on the bodies of transgender people is harmful. The message conveys that being trans is only about surgeries and asking about our genitals is deeply personal and uncomfortable. This form of questioning is never presented to cis people, and it is almost always used as a way to derail valid dialogues and experiences with trans identity.
What Mock experienced on air didn’t make Yee, Charlamagne or DJ Envy more empathetic, and they certainly weren’t done with vilifying Mock and demonizing the trans community. The hosts invited so-called comedian, Lil Duval to the show on Friday morning and at one point during the interview, Charlamagne brings up Donald Trump’s tweets about the military ban on trans folks and the conversation devolved into hateful rhetoric about trans people with Lil Duval stating that if he found out he was with a trans woman, he would be so angry that he might kill her.
Instead of shutting down Duval, the hosts laughed while stating that this would be a hate crime but rather than move on, Charlamagne addresses his interview with Mock and DJ Envy pulls out her book while asking Lil Duval to rate her beauty. After pushing out that she is pretty, Duval states “that nigga doing his thing”.
Transgender women of color make up the highest statistics of homicide rates in the country and not disclosing our identities and “tricking” straight heterosexual men into sleeping with us is one of the biggest perpetuated stereotypes used as a fear-mongering tactic to promote transphobia. Lil Duval’s statement is extremely harmful and extremely effective in giving people an excuse to continue to harm us.
Charlamagne tweeted on Sunday, that while he found what Lil Duval said to be funny, he was innocent because he called Janet Mock “pretty”. This of course, makes no sense, because calling Mock pretty has nothing to do with finding transphobia funny and if Charlamagne was here for the community, he would have called out Lil Duval and apologized for being so ignorant.
Laughing at the idea of murdering trans women motivates people like Lil Duval to actually do what they joke about because it normalizes violence and when cisgender folks normalize violence against trans women, we end up with shortened life expectancies and being at high risk for domestic violence, rape, poverty and incarceration.
It is so important that transgender women have a safe space to exist, and we cannot do that without the help of cis folks and allies who need to ensure our safety. You can start by educating yourselves and those around you because the more a person knows about trans people, the less likely they are to harm them. You can write to your state legislators regarding protections for transgender individuals; you can call out transphobia whenever you see it or hear it.
Yesterday, #BreakfastClubBoycott began trending on twitter, calling for the end of platforms that perpetuate discrimination and violence. If you are prepared to call out Bill Maher for saying “n*gger” on his HBO show, you should be prepared to stand against transphobic and misogynistic radio hosts as well. There is no room for the active dehumanization of trans women, we’re done with your shit and we’re fighting back.
Sign and share this petition form the Marsha P. Johnson Institute to let Power 105 radio station know that we won’t stand for this.