Last week [Four years ago!] Conan O’Brien did a “trannie” skit on his show that was way over the line (see photo below). The mocking of trans people like this in popular culture results in real harm — and death — for us. O’Brien really needs to get on board with 21st century realities on all things transgender. Own up to this blunder, Conan, and we’ll let you off the hook. It looks like I made a blunder as well. This incident actually occurred in 2009, so I’m letting Conan off the hook. That said, the source article below is a beautifully written piece on how pop culture icons can hurt the trans community. Equally valid today as in 2009. (Thanks to those of you that brought the date to my attention!)
The case of Bob Newhart is more problematic. He’s been scheduled to headline a conference being organized by anti-trans/LGBT group — this is something beyond mere mocking, its involvement with an organization that has set out to deliberately bring harm to trans and LGBT people. Intentionally short cutting our civil rights and recklessly disregarding our safety is transphobic behavior. Legatus has also invited ex-presidential candidate Rick Santorum to speak at their event. Santorum’s name alone sums up what Legatus is all about.
Newhart, a 50-year TV veteran and a recent Emmy Award winner for a guest appearance on the Big Bang Theory, has reportedly been approached by LGBT organizations with hopes of being able to persuade him to change his mind, but at this writing there has been no announcements.
I surely hope Newhart doesn’t end his career on a needless sour note.
UPDATE – Dec. 19, 2013: Bob Newhart cancels gig with Legatus: From Towleroad:
Message on Bob Newhart’s Twitter account notes that the TV icon has canceled a scheduled appearance headlining an annual summit for the anti-LGBT Legatus Group alongside Rick Santorum and Bill Donohue.
Upcoming Bob Newhart Tour Date Change — Bob will not be performing at the Legatus Summit in Orlando FL on February 6
No explanation was offered for the cancellation.
There was no further statement given. However, it is possible that Newhart, like many people were unaware that Legatus was such a rabid anti-LGBT organization. The organization was created by former Domino’s Pizza CEO, Thomas Monaghan, for Roman Catholic businesspeople, and membership is only available to top level executives…
…Two petitions were created, asking Newhart to reconsider his gig with Legatus. One, created by Faithful America, got about 17K sigs calling on Newhart to cancel his Legatus gig. The other was created on Change.org by a transgender comic and former Roman Catholic, who also asked Newhart to back out of the summit.
THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia: http://www.wipeouttransphobia.com/
Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/