By Bridget Clinch

Seriously, when is it going to end?  This whole Dave-Chappelle-punching-down-on-trans-people – trans women in particular – is beyond old.  This lazy, anti-intellectual shite hurts people and validates the hell out of the unthinking bigots out there.

The TL:DR version is that Chappelle supposedly had that one token trans friend, who for whatever reason, was “totally cool” with all of his constant so-called jokes at trans people’s expense. 

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Now, Chappelle is claiming that because his trans friend was dragged on social media for defending him and died by suicide the following month, that it is all the LGBTIQ+ community’s fault, not his.  So of course, he can and should continue to, guilt free, perpetuate harm against us trans peeps under the guise of comedy.

Trans People Are Human Beings

In the ’90s, before we all realised that trans people had been invented, there was that whole scene in Ace Ventura when, instead of realising that trans people were legitimate human beings, we learned that one of the women, wait for it – was a man!  Cue vomiting, excessive toothbrushing, crying in the shower after burning clothes, even plunging his face with the toilet plunger, because those sorts of weirdos are way more disgusting than a toilet plunger, aren’t they? 

I was in high school back then, and yeah, I didn’t have the words to explain being trans. So of course I assumed I wasn’t one of those weirdos everyone was laughing at in that scene.

Fast forward a bit, I went to see a psychiatrist waaay back in 2009 who was nearly retired and who had been looking after trans people for longer than I had been alive, which was a little bit before the 90’s. 

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You may be aware that I went on a bit of a crusade to ensure that trans people could transition and remain in the Australian Defence Force, which then rolled into other lobbying activities that remain ongoing because it is twenty-frickin-twenty-one, and society is still lagging behind the evidence that trans people exist and are human beings deserving of basic respect and dignity.

True Representation Matters

Bridget Clinch. Photo: Walkom Photography

So yeah, when I heard about Chappelle being given a platform by Netflix to spruik tired and hurtful “let’s all laugh at trans people” trash, I immediately channelled my inner double facepalming Captain Picard. 

Frustratingly, in the last few years, Netflix has given us an epic gem in the form of Sense8, from the Wachowskis, which also introduced us all to the very awesome Jamie Clayton. 

Even more recently they brought us Disclosure, which was a thorough and well-pitched doco about the impact of on-screen trans representation and its impact. 

If you haven’t seen Disclosure, it is worth the watch, I mean, it basically explains why true representation matters and how hurtful being the punchline all the time is.

TERFs Are Regurgitating Old Rhetoric

Fortunately, as Chappelle declares himself a TERF, it is becoming increasingly apparent to people outside the sights of TERF attacks, that they are now digging their own hole. 

Trans people are well aware that TERFs are regurgitating the same rhetoric that once came from 4Chan, as well as overtly allying with fundamentalist Christians, hardcore conservatives and anyone else who hates trans people as much as they do, regardless of their anti-feminism history.

Again though, when does this end?  I mean all I had to do to change the Australian Defence Force’s mind was to raise a whole body of evidence that showed trans people weren’t just crazy and that Australia was lagging behind developed countries. 

Still, a decade on, with even more medical evidence added to the pile, more understanding and a few more legal rights (depending on where you live), commentators, politicians, and the media still won’t stop punching down on us.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 

 

 

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