…a gay man pontificating about the word “tranny” and expecting that trans people accept his revealed wisdom as unalterable law.
First, we have the usual batch of parasitic plutocrats:
I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel there’s something rather disconcerting about about watching four extremely rich American immigrants who were all born on third base, discussing the reasons for lack of upward mobility in the United States, but that’s exactly what we got here on CNN’s weekend show, Your Money.
I guess they couldn’t find anyone who actually grew up as a member of the working class or a union member or leader to potentially counter the likes of Mort Zuckerman, and statements such as this one that are inevitable when you allow him on the air:
[ZUCKERMAN: There's really no shortage of jobs] There are shortages of people, there are literally millions of open jobs because we don’t train –
VELSHI: But why does the free market not solve that problem?
ZUCKERMAN: Because the education is a government function. If there ever was a public function in this country from the days it started, it’s public education and we’ve done a lousy job. Part of it is frankly because we have lousy teachers.
But we expect this from the 1%, right? You know – the 1%? People whose actual interests – if they were to be strapped to a lie-detector machine and forced to answer questions about their real motives – have long since become so adverse to the interests of the continued existence of the United States of America that, even as recently as forty years ago, would be charged with and convicted of treason? You know…
It was in 1993, during congressional deliberation over the North American Free Trade Agreement. I was having lunch with a staffer for one of the rare Republican members of Congress who opposed the policy of so-called free trade. I distinctly remember something my colleague said: “The rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their own fellow American citizens.”
The real joke is on the rest of us. After the biggest financial meltdown in 80 years – a meltdown caused by the type of rogue financial manipulation that Romney embodies – and a consequent long, steep drop in the American standard of living, who is the putative front-runner for one of the only two parties allowed to be competitive in American politics? None other than Mitt Romney, the man who says corporations are people. Opposing him, or someone like him, will be the incumbent president, Barack Obama, who will raise up to a billion dollars to compete in the campaign. Much of that loot will come from the same corporations, hedge fund managers, merger and acquisition specialists, and leveraged buyout artists the president will denounce in pro forma fashion during the campaign.
The super-rich have seceded from America even as their grip on its control mechanisms has tightened.
(Actually, after the South Carolina Republican debates, I think I could just leave off the “Neo-”)
Sadly, we’ve also come to expect this:
Even though RuPaul Andre Charles is a drag performer who lives his off-stage life as a man, he seems to think he can speak for the transgender community. In an interview with Michelangelo Signorile, Rupaul said of Lance Bass (apologizing for using the word tranny):
“It’s ridiculous! It’s ridiculous!… I love the word “tranny”…And I hate the fact that he’s apologized. I wish he would have said, ‘F-you, you tranny jerk!’”
Reflexively saying that Mr. Ru is not trans at all misses some nuance (and its some nuance-missing that I’ve been guilty of on occasion.)
Is Mr. Ru truly de facto trans? No.
Is Mr. Ru truly de jure trans? Yes – whether he likes it or not. He’s simply never likely to have to deal with that reality.
But lets imagine for a second…
For example, if he was to apply for a job in, for example, Asswipe, New York - a small hamlet with a populace of 200 or so , nestled cozily in the Catskills between the Islets of Langerhans and the Barnacles of Matt Foreman’s Soul – and apply for that job in male attire and, for reasons apparent or not, announce during the process that he is a homosexual male and only a homosexual male, the person to whom he submits said application can, in spite of the 2002 law that Foreman signed off on to give homosexual males such as himself and seemingly Mr. Ru protection from employment discrimination, refuse to hire Mr. Ru by simply pointing to the ample photos of Mr. Ru in drag that can be found on the interet (even simpler, methinks, than doing a simple search for “Blogovitch” and “Ramseyer”) and saying that he wants no trans employees and he has the absolute statutory right not to have any trans employees.
In that sense. Mr. Ru is trans.
So, yes, reflexively saying that Mr. Ru is not trans at all misses some essential nuance…
but saying that Mr. Ru ‘Overly-Privileged-Out-of-Touch-Homosexual-Male’ Paul has no business whatsoever brennan-speaking to trans people about actual trans issues that actually affect actual trans people who, unlike Mr. Ru ‘Overly-Privileged-Out-of-Touch-Homosexual-Male’ Paul, actually live in a world where we typically do not have any agency whatsoever, much less anything approaching the upper hand that Mr. Ru ‘Overly-Privileged-Out-of-Touch-Homosexual-Male’ Paul or any non-Casey Anthony-esque celebrity might have, in employment negotiations (or any other aspect of everyday life that real people have to navigate without benefit of inherited, stolen or dubiously-earned privilege) actually is an ever-so-appropriate response.
Ru Paul is neither a true trans woman nor someone who lives a life reflecting reality for most of us. Ru Paul is actually a gay male actor, a super-rich celebrity performer who has probably made more money portraying a comedic caricature of a woman than most real trans women will see in their lifetimes.
As a celebrity performer, Ru Paul doesn’t have to go to interview after interview looking for work, always hoping that this will finally be the time that the interviewer will actually consider their resume, not their gender identity, as the key factor in deciding whether or not they’ll be hired.
Ru Paul doesn’t have to worry if one day his landlord will decide he doesn’t want a “tranny” around and legally throw him out on the street without notice. He doesn’t have to be concerned that his bosses might fire him and replace him with a non-trans person just because a higher-up decides he doesn’t want a “tranny” working for his company.
Not only doesn’t Ru Paul have to worry about facing discrimination because of his transgender expression, he has financially profited quite handsomely from it. If we use the quote above as our guide, Ru Paul doesn’t see his doing drag as a form of self-expression, but rather simply as a business, a route to wealth and financial success.
In short, the difference between this:
is the difference between the Exterminationism Twins and Anita Schatz.
But Kat, there is a difference! The men who starred in ‘Work It’ are straight!
Really? I don’t know that. The only person who appeared in Work It that I’d ever heard of prior to the show was the crossdressing pair’s other barroom buddy, the sub-Larry the Cable Guy (what else can you call someone who does an entire routine about hating people who read – implicitly claiming that it will make you gay and explicitly saying that if there’s a book and a movie about the same thing he’s willing to trust Tom Hanks to show him what the worthwhile parts are – and being willing to eat dog shit if he’s able to put enough ranch on it) comedian John Caparullo.
For all I know Ben Koldyke and Amaury Nolasco are as gay as Ru Paul.
And they are about as trans as Ru Paul – or Tim Curry for that matter – at least in the one way that matters to real, working-class trans people: they’re the image that has been fed to the people who we have to deal with in the real world.