GLAAD has slammed Tuesday night’s episode of†Chelsea Handler’s E! Entertainment talk show Chelsea Lately over transphobic jokes used throughout the show regarding Chaz Bono’s recently announced appearance on Dancing with the Stars.
The transphobic jokes started right from the word go when, according to GLAAD, Handler included in her opening remarks the following:
“The Dancing with the Stars cast has been announced and, this is season 13, it includes Chaz Bono, otherwise known as Chastity Bono [laughs] before she got her penis [laughs]Ö.”
This was soon followed by jokes from comedians Bill Bellamy and Jo Koy (the latter of which has previously had to apologize over anti-gay jokes):
BB: I mean who do you vote off? Him or her? I donít know which one you want to do. [laughs]
JK: Does, does he/she have both parts? Like, like heís like ‘I donít want to use my penis, let’s use the vagina tonight.’ Like [laughs] I donít know.
Chaz Bono, son of superstar Cher, has been very public about his gender transition.†Chaz, 42, began the process in 2009 and went public with the decision to transition in June of 2010, eventually releasing a documentary called Becoming Chaz about the experience.
GLAAD praised ABC following the announcement that Chaz would be appearing on Dancing with the Stars, saying that ABC had broken new ground with its inclusive line up:
“At a time when transgender representation in the media is sorely lacking, Chaz Bono joining the cast of a series like Dancing With the Stars is a tremendous step forward for the public to recognize that transgender people are an important part of the fabric of American culture. His documentary, ‘Becoming Chaz,’ was a great chance for viewers to meet the man behind the headlines. Appearing on such a high profile show will allow millions of Americans to get to know him in a whole new light.”
This puts into context why GLAAD has strongly condemned the transphobic jokes used by Chelsea Handler and her guests:
Of the four people onstage, [Fortune†Feimster] was the only one to make a joke about Bono that didn’t simply mock his transgender identity. †The “humor” utilized by the others hinged solely on using both male and female pronouns to describe Bono and reducing his identity down to anatomy in order to ridicule him. †In doing so, they are effectively making a mockery of anyone who identifies as transgender and contributing to the already dangerous and hostile climate many transgender people face.
GLAAD is calling for Handler and the show’s creators to issue an immediate apology and asks that they invite Bono and other high profiled trans people onto the show in order to hear from them about their struggles and achievements.
In related news, Cher has taken to Twitter to defend her son against negative comments following the announcement that he would be appearing in this year’s Dancing with the Stars, writing: “lovelies! Chaz is Being Viciously Attacked on Blogs & Message boards about being on DWTS!This is Still America right ? It took guts 2 do it.” You can read more here.