I am an avid Twitter user. I think it’s probably the best way that celebrities, random strangers, and peoples’ cats can communicate with one another. It’s a great promotion tool. It’s also an easy place for bigotry, intended or unintended to come out. This, unfortunately, leads to us finding out some of our favorite people are uneducated and/or bigoted. [Trigger Warning for slurs against transpeople, general bigotry.]
Tonight while following the Colorado Avalanche game and retweeting tweets from the #whiteproverbs stream, I saw a tweet pop up from one of my favorite comedic directors, Nicholas Stoller. This tweet made me do a sad face and a quick tweet back at him where I misspelled stuff because I wasn’t fully prepared to make an argument at the time.
As you can see, Nicholas thought it would be funny to rhyme “gmail” with a very offensive slur towards transwomen. While he has since deleted the tweet and apologized, this is not the first time white cisgender heterosexual men have made this comment, nor will it be the last. Comedians view transwomen as the last place for unPCness. Look at Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They continually use jokes against transwomen. This is the still the standard in society.
What makes me the most sad is that all three of the people are intellectuals and identify somewhere in the liberal/progressive category. I personally believe they actually harbor no ill will towards my trans sisters or me; they are just uneducated. I believe this is the first teaching moment for them. They need to see us as human beings. Jon and Stephen have never had a trans guest on that I can find; not even someone like Laverne Cox, who is relevant.
So far no one other than me has tweeted at Nicholas Stoller about how they feel hurt that he would use such words. I loved Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but will it be tainted for me? I am not sure. I really hope Nicholas is willing to listen to us and learn how to be an ally.
Jon and Stephen obviously exert a lot more power on the collective pop culture consciousness than Mr. Stoller or even me, though I want to reach those heights some day. They are professed allies, we just need them to actually be allies. I suggest you do as I did and sign this petition. It is a start to let them know we care about what they are saying.
Everyone is problematic. I understand this and I try to educate the best I can. Even I have been problematic. I just hope that maybe Nicholas will think twice before using the “s” word again. I hope we can help educate others on regards to slurs against transpeople.