(Warning for casual transmisogyny.)
I’ve watched Arrested Development a couple times. It’s not really my cup of tea, but Heather enjoys it, and I can certainly see why people might like it. Now that it’s returning on Netflix for another season, I might have given it another chance. And then someone who runs their Facebook page had the great idea of posting this:
For those not in the know, when cis people use the word “tranny”, they’re typically not referring to us in a kind or affectionate way. It’s vastly more likely to be used as a cheap insult, a threat, a porn keyword, or as seen in this case, a joke unto itself.
And that’s literally the entire joke here: Trannies! Ha ha, isn’t that funny?
Well, honestly… it’s kind of not funny at all. It’s the sort of lazy humor that every comedy, given enough time, will arrive at eventually – like a Godwin’s Law of transphobia. These low-effort attempts at comedy are made under the assumption that the mere idea of men in dresses, or trans people, is inherently laughable. Treating both as though they were the same is just the icing on the cake.
This can make it difficult to enjoy otherwise entertaining media, because you can run into it anywhere. You’re just looking up a Facebook page for a TV show, and… oh. There it is, the all-too-frequent reminder that This is not for you. It’s meant for other people, so that they can laugh at you. It tells us that the fact of our humanity wasn’t actually taken into account at any point between someone having an idea, someone cobbling it together, someone approving it, and someone clicking “post”. Just being able to go about our lives would be too much to ask – we have to be someone’s punchline.
That’s me they’re talking about.
You don’t have to be trans to have a problem with this. Knowing trans people is enough. Having an understanding of trans people as real human beings should be enough. Hell, all you need is a good sense of humor that doesn’t force you to lean on what’s become the most pervasive and played-out “joke” in comedy.
You can do better than this.