The Transgender Community, Boycotts & the Breakfast Club

Last week, comedian Lil Duval appeared as a guest on the “World’s Most Dangerous Morning Show,” the Breakfast Club. The discussion turned to the transgender community, as one of the guests that week had been transgender activist, author, and host Janet Mock. While on, the crew asked Duval what he would do in the instance that he’d slept with a trans person, without prior knowledge of the person’s gender assignment at birth. Duval responded by saying that he’d “probably kill them.” Of course…that didn’t go well. There isn’t a PR person on this planet that could make what he said sound good, and honestly, they shouldn’t even try. Immediately after that comment, all members of the Breakfast Club informed Duval that murdering a trans person is a hate crime. However, that didn’t stop people from boycotting Charlamagne, and boycotting The Breakfast Club into this week. But now, I have questions.

It’s true-Duval’s statements were disgusting and cringe-worthy, and he deserves every bit of clap back that he’s gotten and continues to get. Though Duval doesn’t seem phased…

I think there are a few points that need to be addressed as the drama surrounding his appearance continues to unfold.

As an advocate of human rights, and an ally of the LGBTQIA community, I understand the importance of choosing our words carefully, and being sensitive to other people’s experiences. But if we are going to have an open and honest conversation, I think we need to change the way we interact with people who may not be open to dating, or having sex with people who are openly trans. We become unreasonable when we ask people to have sex with and date people who they don’t want to date. Not only is it unreasonable, but it is unnecessary.

Our trans brothers and sisters are just as worthy of being loved, and having intimate relationships as anybody else, but it is not our duty to crucify people for choosing NOT to date someone who is trans. People make those kinds of decisions every day in the dating world. Whether they’re choosing not to date someone with kids, someone who doesn’t have a job, or someone who doesn’t have brown eyes, it is a CHOICE that they have a right to make. However, that does not mean trans men and women should be subjected to hateful speech, ridicule or violence. If you choose not to date someone who is trans, simply move on. Your venom is where I draw the line.

That being said, I think it’s also important that our trans brothers and sisters share their background with potential partners. It is not fair to keep potential partners in the dark. They have a right to have full knowledge about someone they are hoping to engage sexually. I understand this information can be hard, painful or even dangerous to divulge, but I think it has to be done.

Janet Mock

Lastly, while on the show, Janet Mock was asked about her genitalia. When talking to trans people, we have to consider that this question is invasive, and distasteful. However, I’d love for those in the trans community to understand that there are people out there who are extremely curious, don’t have all the facts, and truly just don’t know. If you are a trans person with a large platform who comes on the Breakfast Club-a show known for being brutally honest, and upfront-I think it’s safe to say that you can expect questions of that nature. If you don’t want to answer, and it makes you uncomfortable, that is completely understandable-don’t answer. But I think being immediately offended, is a tad unreasonable. This is a topic that many people are still exploring, and are very new to. Questions WILL be asked.

Over the weekend, Charlamagne, who is undoubtedly the most controversial member of the Breakfast Club, was boycotted as he sat on a panel at Politicon. The host sat quietly while the women protested, even signaling to let them continue when the moderator tried to shut it down.

Charlamagne is still under fire even this morning, as social media (and real life) activists take a stand against a man who they feel is toxic, and aided Duval in his transphobic rant.

I have a problem with this.

Have we become such a “triggered” society that we are now in the business of requiring that people take responsibility for other people’s actions? Are we so hellbent on implicating someone, so anxious to boycott something, that we are willing to take down whoever we can in the process?

Charlamagne, who seems to consistently embrace the LGBTQIA community on the show, on social media, and even in his new book, is now being pinned for Duval’s hate speech all because he didn’t…kick him off the show, or “stop” him from saying what he said?

I think it’s time we focus our outrage and our energy on the right people, and institutions that continue to oppress members of the LGBTQIA community. I think the anger geared towards Lil Duval is warranted, but attempting to take down the entire Breakfast Club seems like a reach to me.

What do you think? Is the entire Breakfast Club at fault? Comment below.


5 thoughts on “The Transgender Community, Boycotts & the Breakfast Club

  1. I have a lot of feelings about this; some of it is blatantly transphobic. You’ve compared not wanting to date trans people because they’re trans to not wanting to date people who have kids or brown eyes, which is a totally false equivalency. Transphobia isn’t always “I’d murder a trans person.” It’s also “trans people should disclose what their genitals look like upfront” and “they should expect to be asked invasive, transphobic questions if they want to exist in public spaces.” I’m not sure what the expectation of trans folks is when you’ve unapologetically set them up to be murdered. Yes, kick transphobic people off your morning show. Why is that even a question? No ally should have to think twice about that. You’re right – nobody HAS to date, or have sex with, ANYBODY. But if your reason for not dating or having sex with a transgender person is that they’re trans, it IS transphobic. Call it what it is. You’ve also, intentionally or not, mocked triggers. It’s not being “triggered,” it’s holding people accountable. And that includes everyone involved.

  2. Thanks for the reply Aurora. I hear you. I want to get some clarity. As mentioned in the post, people make decisions every day to date certain people based on their preferences. (In the post I mentioned choosing not date people with brown eyes, kids, etc) Is choosing not to date a trans a preference people have a right to have? Also, nowhere in the post was it mentioned that trans folks should be expected to or asked to show their genetalia up front. I do agree that that would be distasteful and offensive.

  3. A preference is just that – a preference; when you prefer brown eyes over green eyes, you aren’t refusing to date people with green eyes – you’re saying that you like brown eyes better. When white people say that they have a preference and therefore won’t date people who are brown or black, that’s not a preference. It’s racism. Calling transphobia a preference is excusing transphobia – rationalizing it and making it acceptable. That’s not allyship. To reiterate, nobody has to date or have sex with anybody that they don’t want to have sex with or date. For certain, no trans person wants to date or sleep with a transphobic person. I understood “I think it’s also important that our trans brothers and sisters share their background with potential partners. It is not fair to keep potential partners in the dark. They have a right to have full knowledge about someone they are hoping to engage sexually. I understand this information can be hard, or even painful to divulge, but I think it has to be done.” to mean that trans folks should disclose what their genitals look like to anyone they may potentially become intimate with – I would have at least added ‘dangerous’ to the list of adjectives that kind of conversation could be.

  4. Agreed. “Dangerous” should definitely be added to the list. But I would also definitely have to point out that allyship doesn’t mean that you agree all the time. Because the truth is, I DO think that when trans persons don’t divulge that they are trans to a potential sex partner, they are taking away that person’s right to choose. Some people will choose to move forward, and others won’t. Some people in the LGBTQIA view THAT stance as transphobic. I don’t. As a matter of fact, I know several trans persons who agree with that statement. So to be ally, doesn’t mean that all points of view will be agreed upon. What we all SHOULD agree on is that no one should be murdered, be exposed to violence, or oppressed because they are trans.

  5. When cis people “disagree” with whether or not what is transphobic is, in fact, transphobic, it’s no longer about just not agreeing with each other as cis “allies.” You can hardly decide when something isn’t transphobic, and individual trans folks who aren’t offended by certain acts of transphobia don’t make those acts less transphobic. This is reminiscent of people who claim to be allies of gay people but simply “disagree” with gay marriage. We don’t agree, but that doesn’t make a bit of difference in the lives of trans folks who are actually affected by transphobia, whether it be overt or otherwise. Agreeing that trans folks shouldn’t be murdered as a basis of allyship is weak ground to stand on.

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