Saturday, January 11, 2014

Katie Couric Responds To Transgender Question Controversy



During her "Follow Up Friday," segment Katie Couric responded to the controversy surrounding Orange Is The New Black's Laverne Cox and Rupaul Drag Race alum Carmen Carrera's appearance on Katie to talk about their accomplishments and issues related to the transgender community.

If you ain't up on thangs a quick summary: during the first segment with Carrera, Couric asked about her "private parts" in relation to her transition, to which Carrera balked and Cox responded that the focus on transgender people's bodies distracts from issues such as high unemployment, discrimination, and violence, that affect the community. Along with the flurry of op-eds and blog posts, other prominent transwomen like Janet Mock have weighed in on the controversy. Watch the original clip and Katie's response below.



Now I know this may not a popular opinion, but I really don't feel Katie's question was offensive. While I have much respect for Mock, Cox and Carrera, they weren't being harangued by some random idiots in the street. The question, clumsily as it may have been framed, was asked in the context of an interview about topics related to the transgender community.

While Cox is correct in that the conversation about transgender issues shouldn't stop or only be about the transition process, many people both in and outside of the LGBT community are genuinely ignorant about what it is like--many of whom likely make up the demographic of Katie and similar shows like The View and The Talk. She refers to sharing the "lived experiences" of transpeople. But wouldn't that also include your transition experience, something that others like Chaz Bono and Mock have publicly shared previously? As a gay man, I consider my coming out story/process as part of my lived experience, and would share it with those who were truly interested in learning.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying any of these women should suffer fools gladly. There are douchebags out there who are content in their bigotry and ignorance, and who don't deserve our time or energy. But too often it seems LGBT folks assume someone has always a hidden prejudice or slick comment to say whenever they ask a question about our sexuality or gender identity. And it's not a good look. When we treat everything like a stupid or offensive question, we stop the much-needed dialogue that needs to take place around these issues.

Just my two cents of course. Cox, Carrera, Mock and Couric are all intelligent, formidable women. However,the scorn being heaped on one of them is, in my opinion, undeserved.

What do you think?

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