politicette: (BOSTACHE)
[personal profile] politicette posting in [community profile] fakenews_srsbsns
A lot of people are getting up in arms about Stephen's transgender beef joke from 4/2/12, and I've got to be honest, I think the outrage is a little  out of place.

My reasoning for this goes a deeper than just "I'm trans and I wasn't offended," though of course I am, and I wasn't, but that's because I don't think that trans people are the butt of the joke. In my opinion, the premise of the joke does not rely on the idea that transgender people, by virtue of their identity, are inherently ridiculous, but on the idea that ascribing human qualities to beef is a very silly thing to do that should make people laugh.

I know that some people have interpreted the structure and punchline of the joke to be "This beef is riddled with hormones + trans people take hormones = trans people are ridiculous," but my reading was "This beef is full of hormones +trans people take hormones + LFTB sounds like LGBT = transgender beef = joke-worthy notion," and honestly, I think my reading is has much more factual support.

Obviously there's not a lot to go on, as it was a very brief joke, but I think that Stephen's "apology" in which he addresses members of the "bovine transgender community," supports my reading.

The notion of a bovine transgender community is quite obviously ludicrous, but that's not dependent on a bigoted perspective of trans people that views us as inherently ridiculous or grotesque or any of the other negative perceptions that would make the joke transphobic. Again, the joke relies not on the idea that transgender people are inherently worthy of mockery by virtue of their transness, but on the idea that ascribing human qualities, such as gender, to cows, is silly.

I mean, I guess you can make the argument that the joke works like "trans people are unnatural + cows are animals and therefore natural = the disconnect when ascribing an unnatural quality to a natural animal is hilarious," but that feels like an unbelievable stretch to me.

TL;DR: get out of there, cow. you do not have a gender identity you are a cow.

THAT BEING SAID. I do recognize that it's unusual to hear a joke involving trans people, made by a cis person, that is not transphobic. Actually, my own initial reaction was one of discomfort. But upon further reflection, I think that was more of a Pavlovian response to hearing the trans community brought up in a humorous context than anything to do with the joke itself.

But what do you all think?
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