This morning like most other mornings, I went into my usual routine of checking my Pinterest and Tumblr and Facebook while getting ready for a day of action. Everywhere I looked, I saw beautiful expressions of love between all kinds of people. Virtual Valentine’s Day cards and assorted heart imagery peppered the internet. My single friends cringed. It was a beautiful thing (well, not the cringing of course). Unfortunately however, amidst all that beauty, there was a hideous display of cyberbullying in the form of a video interview with a transwoman I’m proud to call my friend. She appeared on a local news station, after being interviewed about some bit of traffic-related news. The video somehow found its way (possibly illegally) into the hands of one Daniel Tosh, appearing on his comedy show Tosh.0. Taken completely out of context, the video shows the original interview, but Bridgette’s (the woman in question) dialogue is accompanied by a laugh track. Here is the video for those of you who may not have seen it.
So often in the trans community, the more “passable” or “stealth” among us are left alone, while those who are visibly trans become targets...all based on appearance. This hypocrisy is disgusting and needs to give way to a universal acceptance in order for any progress to be made as a species. Because we are a collective of human beings and as such we need to have empathy for one another. An empathetic person would have reflected upon the fact that societal factors have “caged” in many trans people; not only in the wrong body, but also in the wrong financial bracket to afford the exorbitant costs of transition, making “stealth” a more difficult prospect to achieve. An empathetic person would stop and say, “To hell with ‘passing,’ you don’t need to fit some preconceived notion of ‘good enough’ for me to leave you alone, you just need to be you because you’re a human being with a soul and a mind. You’re like me and I love you.” Did Tosh and his cohorts stop and try to empathize with their victim’s circumstances? Not at all. Instead they glossed over her, judging her as not worthy of the decency they’d probably extend to a “less trans” person and they mocked her openly. And because hate begets hate and revels in itself, this set forth a spiral of scathing and moronic comments from his viewers.
My initial reaction was one of sadness. Watching this unfold felt more like witnessing schoolyard bullying than a comedy show and being helpless to intercede. My second was one of anger. As a transwoman, I could not stand for one of our sisters to be humiliated for the sake of a few giggles. I also began to realize that I wasn’t helpless. In this day and age, you only have as much power as you’re willing to utilize via social media. It’s there, you just need to apply it correctly. So please get the word out about this deplorable act. Write to Daniel Tosh at Tosh.firstname.lastname@example.org. Spread the word to whatever LGBT and anti-defamation organizations you’re a part of or work with. This was a cut-and-dry case of cyberbullying. This was done without her consent. This was transphobia at its worst. This was not comedy, it was hate. Daniel Tosh needs to issue an apology to the trans community and to Bridgette. And we, as her family need to work towards ensuring that this never happens again.