These days if you breathe sideways you get accused of everything from slut shaming and racism to being transphobic (the word that indicates that you are against transgender people). It doesn’t take much. Last night Oscar host and lesbian Ellen DeGeneres made a joke about Liza Minelli. Naturally she’s now being labeled transphobic.
“Hello to the best Liza Minnelli impersonator I’ve ever seen,” DeGeneres joked about the icon who, writes HuffPost, has been a favorite subject for female impersonators and drag artists over the years. “Good job, sir.”
As many paying attention to online angst know, the collective transgender community has a pretty thin skin, and we’re talking pre and post-op. After CNN”s Piers Morgan repeatedly praised transgender memoirist Janet Mock in a recent interview about how brave she was and what a good spokesperson she is for her community, she went on Twitter and blasted him for asking about her intimate relationships. She wanted him to treat like someone who wasn’t on his show because she’d written a memoir detailing how she’d been born a boy and had a sex change operation at 18 in Thailand. She had strangers going after Morgan’s nuts for 24 hours. They still dig into him about it. ABC talk show host Katie Couric also got ensnared in the transgender wrath after an interview. She, too, was labeled insensitive.
As my colleague Patrick Howley explained, “Personally, I’ve been trying to fan the flames of the lesbian vs. transgender civil war for some time. I think we finally have a Lexington and Concord.”
HuffPost even has poll — do you think Ellen’s joke was transphobic?
Either way, the commenters weren’t having it. Even on HuffPost, there’s apparently a line.
The bulk of commenters, and at least the first 36 entries, strongly backed Ellen.
Phillip K. writes, “I think some folks probably need to put their big girl panties on and get over it. The comment was about impersonators. I may be misunderstanding ‘trans’ designations, but I was under the impression that gender identity had nothing to do with impersonators.” And Jules W.: “People just have no sense of humour anymore.” Steven H.: “Minnelli is a favorite of drag queens, It was directed at that. Not even close to be transphobic.” Joey Richmond has this profound question: “It was funny. Why does everything ruffle some people’s pinfeathers?” And Jan. H.: “Geezes – do we have to be so PC???????”