That joke isn’t funny any more
Helen G // 25 April 2008
The notion that ‘feminists have no sense of humour’ is a bit of a cliché so I thought I’d update it a little and put on my ‘humourless trans feminist’ hat. So here goes: Graham Norton’s recent ‘jokes’ about Thomas Beatie were transphobic and Not Funny.
Okay, Helen, so what’s brought this on?
Well, I’ve just read this post by Tekanji over at the Official Shrub.com Blog. Tekanji says, "The BBC has chosen to defend some transphobic comments made by a gay comedian whose show they sponsor. In this clip where he’s talking about Thomas Beatie, he says: ‘If he hasn’t had genital surgery surely that just makes him a lesbian’ and ‘that thing is still a woman’."
Selina, who saw the programme, explains on her blog how she sent a complaint to the BBC Complaints Department and received a reply in which, Selina says, "Not only have they completely misunderstood my comment, they’ve dismissed it in a really aggravating ‘generic response’ way".
And, reading the reply – you can read it in full here – I can’t help but agree. As Selina points out, this is about transphobia in a wider context than ‘just’ the Thomas Beatie case. The reply is dismissive and, in its way, every bit as offensive as Graham Norton’s ‘jokes’. Would the BBC defend, let’s say, homophobic remarks? Oh wait – I forgot – they already have…
According to this page, "The BBC is paid for directly through each household’s TV licence" – which means that any trans* person who pays the television license fee has, in effect, contributed to the making, and broadcasting, of Graham Norton’s transphobic remarks.
To quote Tekanji, "Why is it that the dehumanization of a person/group of people is still considered funny?" Answers on the back of a £20 note to Helen G c/o TFW.
Thank you and goodnight.