Lots of folks are talking about David Letterman’s transphobic behavior on the Late Show in regards to recent government appointee Amanda Simpson. Letterman discusses Simpson’s appointment and how she is transgender. Another character in the show begins screaming “Amanda used to be a man? Oh my god!” and runs out of the room disgusted and horrified.
Also recently Scott Turner Schofield appeared on a reality TV show called “Conveyor Belt of Love.” (In Scott’s defense, he said never thought it would air.)
When word got out that he was trans, the uproar started about how Scott “was really a girl” and therefore a proponent of “trickery.”
I was not surprised, or shocked by any of it. I think I am so adjusted to seeing this behavior that I was barely even offended. What stuck out to me was the common phrase “used to be.” I feel like we use it all the time to talk about our people, to talk about ourselves… “I used to be a girl, but now…” But now what? How does one stop being something they have been?
I would like to add a disclaimer that this method of thinking can’t be applied to most trans people. In fact, most trans people I talk to about it don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. But it makes sense to me. I am not a “girl” but I used to be one… no I am not a girl, but I still kinda am one. If I say “I used to be a girl…” I always stumble over my words, correcting myself with awkward throw ins. In someways I was never a girl, in others I totally was… and am. Why does it matter what I used to be? Shouldn’t all that matters be what I am now? If you slept with someone who was woman but at one point was male bodied, does that change the face that you slept with a woman? If I was a girl once, am I really a girl now? Does that make me not really a boy? Where does our history stop and the recognition and realness begin? Does there have to be a stop and start in the first place? I can’t escape my history and my life, nor do I feel a need to. I can never completely stop being the me I used to be because somewhere in my brain are my memories of myself, my concept of myself from years past. Who I used to be is a part of who I am now.
It is the societal hate of changing ourselves that makes us feel that we have to exchange who we used to be for who we are now. They try to train us to reprogram our minds and bodies and re-write our histories. It is out of fear of disgusting others, of being hated, of being killed, that we feel the need to hide who we used to be and as a result we hide ourselves.
To sign a petition to promote the Late Show posting an apology, go here.