5 High Profile Examples Of Transphobia In The Media

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Transphobia In The Media, Laverne Cox

There have been many high profile examples of transphobia in the media recently.

Here, we highlight some of these incidents and also offer you some positive transgender stories.

The media seems to be making a lot of transphobic remarks lately. Even popular news journalists (i.e. Katie Couric) and drag idols (i.e. RuPaul) are not immune from making these unnecessary comments.

rukkle wants to not only highlights these recent examples transphobia in the media, but also offer you some positive stories too.


Katie Couric

Transphobia In The Media, Katie Couric

Long time news journalist found herself earlier this year making a transphobic statement. She had model Carmen Carrera and actress/activist Laverne Cox on her show. After inquiring about having gender assignment surgery, Cox responded stating that,

The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s lives is that so often we are targets of violence. We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community.

Watch the video here.


Ellen Degeneres

Transphobia In The Media, Ellen DeGeneres

Popular talk show host and out lesbian Ellen Degeneres even found herself in transphobic territory during the Oscars.

As cameras panned over to Liza Minnelli, Degeneres said that,

“Hello to the best Liza Minnelli impersonator I’ve ever seen. Good job, sir.”

A few days later, Minnelli released a statement that she didn’t find the comment funny either.

“I think it went a little stray on her. I don’t think she meant any harm at all, and I think she’s a wonderful lady. I think she thought it would be funny.”

Watch Degeneres’ opening monologue at the Oscars (Liza Minnelli comment at 2:20).



Transphobia In The Media, Ru Paul

On the recent season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, an episode featured a controversial game called, “Female or She-Male.” Contestants had to look at a close-up picture of a celebrity and determine if they were a biological female or a psychological female. The controversial game resulted in the show pulling the use of the term ‘she-male’ and ‘she-mail’ completely.

RuPaul has also been under fire for the use of the word, tranny. On the WTF podcast with Marc Maron, RuPaul responded to his statement that individuals in the trans community find the term, tranny, to be offensive,

No, it is not the transsexual community. These are fringe people who are looking for story lines to strengthen their identity as victims. That is what we’re dealing with. It’s not the trans community, because most people who are trans have been through hell and high water and they know — they’ve looked behind the curtain at Oz and went, ‘Oh, this is all a f**king joke. But, some people haven’t… You know, if your idea of happiness has to do with someone else changing what they say, what they do, you are in for a f**king hard-ass road.

You can listen to RuPaul’s comments here.


Wendy Williams

Transphobia In The Media, Wendy Williams

Outrageous talk show host, Wendy Williams, hosted a panel discussion about a transgender athlete on her show. The panel made a number of transphobic statements. Williams even kept misstating Chaz Bono’s gender,

“You can take away female or male parts or whatever — it’s like Chaz Bono! You know, Chaz is a man now, but I bet she still fights like a girl like the rest of us, and she’s not as strong as a man who was born a man.”

After hearing about the criticism, Williams tweeted out,


Kimberly & Beck – Radio Hosts

Transphobia In The Media, Breakfast Buzz

Kimberly & Beck were fired from their radio show, Breakfast Buzz, for responding negatively to health benefits including transgender rights. They were initially suspended, but then fired from the show.

They released a joint statement that they understood the reason for their firing and their hopes for the future,

It is our hope that this situation can be a time of learning and understanding about the Transgender community and not a time for additional anger and insensitivity. This is a community of individuals who struggle painfully to be themselves and find the support and comfort they deserve. We believe that this can be a chance for all of us to stop the ignorance and find our humanity.


And Finally…

If you’re worried that you may be transphobic, BuzzFeed has put together a number of questions to help you determine if you’re transphobic.

As well, HuffPo has a great article by Stephanie Mott, the Executive Director of Kansas Statewide Transgender Project. The article is entitled, The Truth About Anti-Trans* Slur.

It’s important to remember that while these negative stories about the transgender community exists, there’s amazing one’s too. Watch the video below to hear about Ryland’s story.


 Jay rukkle
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