Piers Morgan Misgenders Janet Mock on CNN, Insults Her on Twitter

Last night on CNN’s Piers Morgan Live, trans woman, author and advocate Janet Mock showed up to talk about her new memoir Redefining RealnessWhat should have been a great and informative appearance by one of the country’s leading trans activists instead turned into a long series of misgendering by the show’s host, followed by a twitter temper tantrum when Mock called out Piers Morgan for the way he dehumanized and sensationalized her on his show.

Janet Mock was not a boy until age 18

Janet Mock was not a boy until age 18

The show very quickly took an uncomfortable turn. Every time Piers Morgan prefaced the story, he talked about how Mock “was a boy until age 18″ when she became a woman. When he actually started talking to her it was even worse. He introduced her by saying “Janet was born a boy and at the age of 18 she took an extraordinary step to become the woman she is today.” Okay, so right off the bat he’s misgendering her. Then, the first thing he says to her is, “this is the amazing thing about you- had I not known anything about your story, I would have had absolutely not a clue that you had ever been a boy, a male, which makes me absolutely believe you should always have been a woman.” This is not how you compliment trans women. He’s essentially saying, “you don’t look like all of those ugly, manly trans women, so I’m going to be nice to you.” If he had been talking to a trans woman who doesn’t pass as well as Ms. Mock, he seems to be implying that he wouldn’t believe that she was meant to be trans.

Morgan’s interview didn’t really get any better from there, as he used Mock’s birth name several times, said that she used to be a man multiple more times and even said that she “became a woman” only when she had “a transgender operation.” Again, had Morgan’s guest been a different trans woman, one who perhaps didn’t pass as well as Janet Mock, one who hadn’t yet had (or perhaps even never planned on having) “the surgery,” would he consider her to still be a man?

Piers, that’s not how being transgender works.

When she was growing up as a young trans woman, Janet Mock wasn’t a man, no matter how much or how little transitioning she had done. Having a surgery that’s just one step in some trans people’s journeys didn’t magically change her from being a man to being a woman. She already was one. Even the show’s graphics misgendered her, saying “Janet Mock: Was a boy until age 18.”

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Mock started tweeting her reactions to the interview (which was filmed several days ago) from an event celebrating the release of her new book Redefining Realness. In her tweets, she called out Morgan for saying that she used to be a boy and reminded him that she was never a man and he needs to learn how to better talk about trans people. At the event were several other trans women, and Mock tweeted out a flawless picture of herself standing with actress and fellow trans advocate Laverne Cox, giving the perfect reaction faces to Morgan’s misgendering.

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Morgan soon caught wind of Mock’s tweets and apparently reverted into an eight year old child who was just told that he has to eat his vegetables. Morgan’s childish, entitled and overly aggressive response started when several twitter users started calling him out on his lack of tact and understanding when it comes to treating trans women like human beings. Morgan immediately got defensive and again misgendered Mock. He then tweeted out, “A lot of very irate people accusing me of ‘transphobia’ because I devoted a third of my show to @JanetMock ‘s inspiring story. Weird.” Morgan continued by tweeting “…wish I’d never booked her.” Now that he knows that Janet Mock will call  him out when she is misgendered and dehumanized, he regrets giving a voice to her cause (the transgender one) that he claims to support so much.

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Showing just how great of an ally he is, Morgan tweeted out, “As for all the enraged transgender supporters, look at how STUPID you’re being. I’m on your side, you dimwits.” Because there really is no better way to show how supportive you are of an oppressed community than to dismiss, belittle and insult them in public. Morgan seems to think that he did the transgender community the ultimate favor. He allowed one of us on his show and he expects us to be eternally grateful. Morgan put the cherry on top of his twitter tirade by actually threatening Janet Mock, saying “I’ll deal with you tomorrow night on air @janetmock – never been treated in such a disgraceful manner. Be proud.” This is what happens when rich, white, male “allies” get called out on their messed up behavior.

Did he learn nothing from Laverne Cox’s and Carmen Carrera’s recent appearance on Katie Couric’s show and the backlash that ensued when she failed to learn the proper guidelines for interviewing (or really just talking to) trans women? The guidelines aren’t even that difficult to follow, they pretty much boil down to a few things: don’t ask about a stranger’s genitals, don’t call a woman a man and don’t treat trans women as if we’re oddities in a sideshow. When he broke those rules, he was rightfully called out on it. However, instead of apologizing and admitting that he should have treated Mock better, he called Mock and her supporters “disgusting,” “shameful,” “pitiful” and “pathetic,” among a litany of other insults. Is it really that ridiculous and shameful to request to not be consistently misgendered and dehumanized? There’s a gifset going around tumblr right now showing a quote from Laverne Cox’s speech at the recent Creating Change conference. In it she says, “When a trans woman is called a man, that is an act of violence.” Trans activists like Cox and Toni D’Orsay have been saying this for years, but apparently people like Morgan haven’t been listening.

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Morgan is perpetuating the idea that Janet Mock, and by extension other trans women, are men. He is insisting on othering her and focusing on his notions of what bodies should look like. These ideas are why trans women get beaten when they use women’s restrooms; why, when trans students are forced to go out of their way to use a separate bathroom ,we think it’s progress; and why trans women of color are murdered after the person flirting with them finds out they “used to be a man.” What might be worse is his reaction to the backlash. He seems to think that since Janet Mock didn’t immediately interrupt and correct him while she was on set, she has no right to stand up and demand to be treated with respect, and that she’s being completely disrespectful by doing so. Morgan added several more tweets this morning, saying again that Mock is “pretending” and “lying” and even challenging her to come back on his show to debate whether or not he was offensive. That’ s not how being offensive works. Mock clearly pointed out which direct quotes from Morgan’s show were offensive and transphobic, and still he is trying to make her seem like the irrational one. I’m not sure how Morgan thinks he can debate the objective fact that he repeatedly said that Mock was a man.

Trans women are already seen as aggressive and irrational, or even crazy, and when Morgan dismisses Mock in this way and claims that he’s never been treated so horribly by a guest, he is saying that those stereotypes are correct. He’s acting like he’s the victim here, and that a “mad black trans woman” is attacking him for no reason. He’s trying to completely discredit her, claiming that she was perfectly happy with the interview and only now “pretends she was mortally offended” and that she set out to “distort” the facts to “create a fake furore and sell books.” The only claims Mock has made were that Morgan said she “was a boy until 18″ and “formerly a man,” and that she didn’t appreciate or agree with those statements. Morgan is participating in a very insidious form of transmisogyny, where trans women are first mistreated, then attempt to point out the oppression only to have their oppressors turn the tables on them. We’re told that we’re too sensitive and that a lot of the transphobia we point out is made up. I’m honestly getting tired of having to write about trans women being disrespected by “journalists” like this. I’m tired of trans women being treated as though we’re oddities who don’t even deserve basic human decency. I’m tired of trans women being told that we should be happy with the crumbs that we’re offered. Piers Morgan thinks that he did trans women a huge favor on Tuesday night, when in reality he slapped us in the face. Far too often trans women are told that we have no right to complain when those claiming to support us are actually harming us, and I’m extremely happy to see Janet Mock refuse to stand for it any more.

Be prepared to watch Janet Mock LIVE tonight at 9 EST when she shuts Piers Morgan down on his own show.

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Mey is a lesbian Latina trans woman living in Idaho. Her areas of expertise include comic books, trans issues and pop culture. She has an English Degree, a cat named Sawyer, a tumblr that she uses a lot and a twitter that she only uses occasionally.

Mey has written 151 articles for us.

57 Comments

  1. Thumb up 4

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    That gifset is the first thing I thought of when I heard about this whole mess. It really is a simple concept, and I don’t understand why so many professed allies think they cannot possibly betray it just because they call themselves supporters. I don’t know why marginalized people are constantly required to thank those with privilege for each fraction of an ounce of positive attention they receive alongside an onslaught of discrimination and aggression, both micro- and macro-. It’s always one step forward, two steps back, and it is exhausting. Thank you as always for covering it, Mey.

  2. Thumb up 16

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    I watched this debacle unfold in real time on twitter, and…wow. I’m still not over it. I feel that Piers and people like him are the most dangerous. These people masquerading as allies for the cookies. Once they’re called out, instead of listening to concerns and following up with a genuine apology, they lash out and act like fucking children. As if it should have been “enough” for Piers to simply acknowledge Janet’s existence. Like he did her some kind of favor, like the fact that he had her on his show gives him the right to speak of her in any way he sees fit with complete disregard to her feelings. What an uppity prick he is. Wow. I’m still pissed.

  3. Thumb up 3

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    (This is not excusing Piers in any way shape or form here)

    I’m astounded by the number of people who have no idea how to speak of the trans community. I was fortunate to be educated at an institution with an active and informative LGBT community (voted one of the best in that nation), which does speak to my own privilege…. I was even able to take a trans studies class with an amazing professor. However, I don’t see the reason that any queer (hell, non-queer) cis person wouldn’t want to take a little time to educate themselves on how to at least be proper allies to their trans brothers/sisters/everything in between. A group that’s routinely dehumanized, questioned, rejected from society, and has a ridiculous suicide rate… Can’t we at least use proper term here? Piers sounds like he was being a piece of shit, but sadly he represents the general ignorance.

    I was on the OITNB boards on imdb after the show came out, and the use of “the t-word” (Edit made by moderator) came up a lot. I gently corrected one person who used it with otherwise seemingly good intentions. That person apologized and edited their post. However, someone else took the liberty of jumping down my throat and calling me overly politically correct. I believe the phrase was “everyone is offended by something today” was used. Rage city.

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      Unfortunately it wasn’t even just (harmful) ignorance (and also perhaps willful ignorance, because if you don’t know anything about your interviewee’s community before the interview, maybe you should be doing some research before she shows up). He compounded it with his reaction to other people’s responses to his ignorance.

      I definitely agree that there’s an unfortunate level of ignorance out there.

    • Thumb up 2

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      Stories like the one you relate about the OITNB boards is why I focus so heavily on a person’s reaction to a suggestion/criticism/correction. I know we all make mistakes, but if someone responds by calling anyone who has a problem with what they say “oversensitive”, “stupid”, “over reacting,” etc. or they try to argue they are an ally or are “on your side” therefore can not have made a mistake, that’s when my benefit of a doubt all but evaporates. I can even understand a bit of defensiveness, but at a point it becomes clear that some people want accolades without work and acceptance without criticism. I think Morgan was at that point (say was because I haven’t seen the follow-up).

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    Now I haven’t been on national tv but I’m pretty sure she would not have been unable to see the graphics describing her as a man while the interview was in progress. Unless there’s some kind of new holographic witchcraft going on.

  5. Thumb up 7

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    Ugh. If this really had been unintentional, it would have been so easy for Piers Morgan to fix it. You know? Fucking apologize, educate yourself and your staff, and do something to make it better. In an ideal world that’s what we’d be getting tonight, but I don’t have high expectations.

  6. Thumb up 0

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    “Then, the first thing he says to her is, ”this is the amazing thing about you- had I not known anything about your story, I would have had absolutely not a clue that you had ever been a boy, a male, which makes me absolutely believe you should always have been a woman.”

    But cis-normative attractiveness is very much the key reason she was booked on the show. And I notice she never contradicted him saying that. Piers Morgan is a product of Rupert Murdoch’s rags… yes, he’s a pompous idiot. But the reality is, he’s said nothing here that wasn’t already said (even worse) by Oprah Winfrey, Cyra McFadden, Joy Behar, Barbara Walters, Tyra Banks or many other journalists and interviewers. That doesn’t excuse them but it does put it in a systemic perspective.

  7. Thumb up 6

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    Piers Morgan is scum of the earth, this is not the first time and certainly not the last that he will continue to abuse his power. He has no journalistic ethics, or really any ethics at all. I can never be surprised when he does something dreadful anymore considering his history.

    Most Americans don’t know this but he was fired forging images of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. In addition he very involved in the hacking scandal while he was the editor of several tabloids in the UK.

    He also used to have a bad habit of sending his tabloid reporters to harass his critics. Overall not a nice individual at all.

    • Thumb up 3

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      He was fired for printing fake pictures on the front page of the Daily Mirror but had been on thin ice for ages because of an insider trading ring at the paper.
      And as for the rest, hopefully more people now realise how appropriate it was that he was often referred to as Piers Moron in the UK.

  8. Thumb up 11

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    Soooooo. All of the queer girls in the office have gathered round my computer to collectively read/seethe about this. And the occasion is terrible. But at the same time. It’s kind of great to be queering up my office space. Like, I’m living the 2014, LGBT version of “9 to 5″.

  9. Thumb up 5

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    I watched the interview and I think there’s something that should be considered.
    While I wholeheartedly agree that Janet Mock was misgendered and sensationalized on the show (and so graceful in her responses), I was actually taken aback by her reaction on Twitter.
    What Morgan said was completely misguided. And in an ideal world, he would have done some research about how to talk to trans people.
    That obviously didn’t happen and I think Mock should have corrected him personally rather than dropping the first expletive for the world to see (though she and anyone else has the right to react the way they want).
    Just because she was on the show doesn’t mean Morgan was an instant trans ally. And being a rich, white dude, how can we expect that from someone who has never had to consider such a thing in his life.
    Morgan’s interviewing was pure ignorance, not malice. As one commenter said, he questioned her as the general ignorant population would. And let’s face it, the general population is still taking Trans* 101 at best.
    Ideally, the responsibility would not be on Mock to correct Morgan. That’s unfortunately not how it works right now and I think social justice advocates would benefit by not fighting hate with hate.
    The dude just doesn’t get it. A deep understanding of social justice concepts won’t happen to the privileged overnight. Attacking Morgan on Twitter won’t create a better understanding for him. He just got defensive and reacted poorly.

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      What ever happened to journalism? Y’know that thing where you research and investigate before going on television? Like seriously, he and all of his staff were one google search away from not causing this shit.

      Now, I’m going to ask you to reflect on what you’re doing. To call a trans woman a man is violence. It justifies the hate and abuse we receive. It’s the reason we’re denied access to badly needed resources. Piers Morgan is furthering that violence through his show, yet you’re going to explain away his actions as ignorance and blame and criticize the women victimized by this?

      It’s people like you who’d rather criticize our tone than actually hold transmisogynistic assholes like Morgan accountable that Piers Morgan, Katie Couric, Gabourney Sidibe, Jared Leto, and all the other transmisogynistic assholes can get in front of a camera and continue to spew rhetoric that kills.

      Don’t hurt us and then blame us for defending ourselves.

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        What he said was gross and dangerous. I don’t disagree.
        My interest is achieving the most productive way he could have achieved an understanding to actually get him somewhere.
        And you’re right, he was one Google search away. The whole thing is on him. I’m just questioning fighting an attack with an attack.
        One of my friends put it this way about the interview:
        “We will continue to work to educate the public about the truths regarding transgender people. There is no room for such ignorance if transgender people are ever to realize full equality.”

        Basically, I don’t think it’s productive to call someone a transmisogynistic asshole when they don’t even know what that means or know the consequences of their words. Tactical differences, I guess. Perhaps both have their place?

        • Thumb up 13

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          Being polite while someone repeatedly hurts you is exhausting and hard. Educating someone is also exhausting and hard. It’s hard enough going through life as a trans woman without having to deal with that. If you hurt me, it’s not my job to be polite. If you’re ignorant, it’s not my responsibility to educate you. Honestly, most people aren’t willing to be educated anyways whether I spoon feed it to them or be blunt.

          I’ve no interest in playing respectability politics. I’m done with trans women being called irrational and aggressive for asserting our right to be treated with dignity and respect. The only reason we’re seeing trans rights hit the news so often nowadays is because of women like Janet Mock who aren’t interested in playing nice and being “one of the good t*******.” We’re not suddenly going to be given that dignity and respect by asking politely. Change never occurred through appeasing the oppressor.

          All I know is if the cis people who claim to be our allies actually stood by us and helped us be heard instead of cutting us down and criticizing us for our tone or for being too divisive, maybe this wouldn’t keep happening. Maybe there would be actual consequences for people like of Piers Morgan.

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          I apologize if I’ve bitten your head off over this. It’s been a long day and I’m very tired of seeing comments about how Mock should’ve dealt with her treatment differently.

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        Both education and politeness are exhausting and hard, yes.
        I wouldn’t say they’re synonymous with appeasing an oppressor.
        I think there are willing educators and people who are willing to learn. Also, power dynamics come into play and being loud and aggressive is messy and dangerous for some.
        The strategy depends on the person and situation. We need both, depending on reception abilities.
        In the grand scheme of things I think Janet Mock’s interview tonight will be incredibly successful, reaching millions of people and god willing, Pierce Morgan.

    • Thumb up 18

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      a journalist should always prep for an interview by familiarizing themselves with the subject and the topic, and if it’s a sensitive issue, like LGBT or race-related things, it’s on that journalist to acquaint themselves with proper language before the conversation begins. perhaps you might excuse piers morgan for his ignorance if he was your drunk uncle at thanksgiving asking your trans girlfriend invasive questions (personally i would rip my uncle a new one in that situation, but that’s just me), but this isn’t a cocktail party, it’s a news show on CNN. he didn’t do the prep he should have, and nobody who works for him did either, and i think the reason for that is that he didn’t consider janet to be a human being worthy of preparation. his tweets confirmed that he thought he was doing good enough just by letting one of those people onto his show. a failure to prepare for the interview is profoundly disrespectful.

      [ETA: also everything alexis said, i didn't see her comment before posting mine]

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        First of all, one has to define what a journalist is and does. There is no licensing for journalists nor test you take to become one. Someone who works for The Sun or News of the World (as Piers Morgan did) is a journalist the same way someone reporting in The Atlantic Monthly is? (and I’m not saying they’re beyond writing trans-ignorant stuff either). The reality is, when it comes to the trans community, the standard of journalism has always been bottom feeding. And when the trans community has tried to call that out, we’ve received much the same indignant outrage Morgan displayed… often from people who, like him, haughtily claimed to be allies.

        Did Morgan actually say anything worse than Marie Claire magazine did when they first had the story on Janet? Not that I can see… most of his ‘interview’ was taken straight from that article. Janet has, at times, mentioned she was uncomfortable with some of the wording of that piece but has never expressed outrage about it. Tyra Banks once asked a 6-year old trans girl about her genitals… was there an uproar about that one? Barbara Walters said some grossly offensive things to trans children (including successfully trying to make one cry), yet was lauded for her 20/20 piece on the subject. Oprah had an interview with a trans man and his twin sister and repeated “this is sooo weird” about 6 times during the interview.

        I wish Janet had brought some of her concerns in the interview (I understand she’s going back on there tonight) instead of on Twitter and, especially, had spoken up forcefully instead of not addressing when he began his interview with talking about how ‘well she passes.’ (duh, that’s why she’s on there instead of a trans icon like Miss Major) The reality is, you don’t go on Jerry Springer or Maury Povich and expect it’s not going to be a shambles and you don’t talk to Piers Morgan and expect he’s not going to be a pompous ass who exploits you. I’m glad trans people are no longer tolerating this crass level of representation, but part of that means not going on shows with journalists/interviewers who haven’t previously shown a demonstrable level of respect to all of the trans community.

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          First, Piers Morgan airs on CNN. It doesn’t really matter what trashy rag he used to work at. What matters is he airs on a channel devoted to journalism.

          Second, as for not calling out those other instances, perhaps this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back? I think it’s a bit unfair to expect us all to be ever vigilant and never let something like this slip past.

          Third, when pretty much the entire journalist community is against us, we don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing where to interview. Places like Autostraddle are shining gems in a ocean of crap but an interview on Autostraddle isn’t going to reach the same number of people as one on CNN or ABC News.

          We’ve seen what happens when we don’t get our voices out. Narratives created by cis people and forced on trans people is still a huge problem and that’s not going to change unless we speak out against those narratives and push forward our own. In order to do that, we need to be heard. Otherwise, cis people will continue to control our stories and continue to use them to keep us down.

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        “Otherwise, cis people will continue to control our stories and continue to use them to keep us down.”

        When you appear in any form of mainstream media, your message is controlled by cis people. Period. Fortunately, these days there are many forms of alternative media (hello, the Internet) and old white man networks like CNN are on the decline. What’s important is us speaking up for ourselves on media we’re intimately involved with because “having your experience sensitively interpreted by others” is a sure road to mediocrity, exploitation and oversimplification.

        Good, I’m glad the straw broke the camel’s whatever, but there needs to be consistency in calling out unprofessional coverage. You can’t say thank you Marie Claire (even though you called me a boy) one day then get outraged when you go on the show of a known jerk and he does the same thing. And, btw, the coverage of trans people on CNN has always been miserable (Don Lemon… transphobe worse than Piers Morgan, Anderson Cooper… awkward and embarrassed). How about someone like Rachel Maddow on CNBC who has NEVER mentioned trans people’s issues once during her show?! I repeat… Rachel… Maddow… trans… does… not… exist.

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          “You can’t say thank you Marie Claire (even though you called me a boy) one day then get outraged when you go on the show of a known jerk and he does the same thing.”

          I think the fact that the Marie Claire interview was three years ago should account for perhaps different responses, and since then Janet Mock has built up a very strong following and media presence. I know that I am far more vocal and willing to call out people’s bullshit today than I was three years ago (and I don’t have to deal with the microaggressions that trans women face) because over that time, I’ve learned to a) spot the oppression, b) process the oppression, and c) engage effectively. I don’t think it’s fair to hold Janet’s actions from three years prior against her today, especially since Janet *did* speak out against how the Marie Claire magazine portrayed her.

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      Morgan’s interviewing was pure ignorance, not malice. As one commenter said, he questioned her as the general ignorant population would.

      Wrong. Piers Morgan dropped intentional dog whistles on Janet Mock and cut straight to the prime time sensationalism. He knows what he’s doing. Furthermore, he is not “the general ignorant population.” Morgan is a decades-long media figure who has worked on both sides of the English-speaking Atlantic, and he is well-versed in how to frame a media narrative. This wasn’t an accident. Also, he works for an international news organization with a full research team. Plus he claims to be an LBGTQ ally, as he so ungraciously reminded us on Twitter. He ain’t ignorant about this stuff. This is what makes his behavior on the show and his straight up trolling on Twitter deplorable and inexcusable.

  10. Thumb up 2

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    My stars, there is some evil, triggering, mansplainy bullshit on his timeline. He seems completely unwilling to entertain the possibility that he might have done anything improper. Thanks for writing this, Mey. I hope the interview tonight goes better than his tweets indicate it will…

  11. Thumb up 3

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    I am so angry at the whole situation especially by the fact that Piers Morgan has the nerve to not only be so rude and ignorant on the show but claim to be the victim and act like he supports the trans community. I am looking forward to Janet calling him out in the new interview. Overall its just so sad that trans people still have to deal with such bullshit from journalists. Really proud of Janet though and can understand why she felt uncomfortable calling him out when the interview was airing. I think one of thew reasons the Katie Couric incident ended up being so great was because their were two trans women who could support each other.

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    I think Piers should be given a break – I watched the original interview and believe he would have accepted any correction offered by Janet. I think some people who were on the edge of understanding or supporting our transgendered community were turned off by the second show tonight. In my view chastisement isn’t the answer – education is. We must support AND educate all who are open to learning.

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      He should not have to be corrected. Getting educated about interview subjects is Journalism 101. It is not the job of any marginalized community to constantly spoon feed the larger population. He didn’t just accidentally run into her on the street and not know what to say–she was a scheduled guest and he should have taken the five minutes it would have required to learn appropriate language for the interview. No breaks for Piers. He just needs to do better. Right the eff now.

  13. Thumb up 3

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    Janet Mock is heralded as a leader in the community and she knows the terms of reference with which the ‘uneducated’ require education. I blame the very articulate Janet for not taking the opportunity for educating Piers Morgan and the world at large about these terms and best practice guidelines for the transgendered community.

    Janet had a tremendous opportunity to set out the guidelines to the world and Piers. Yes, Piers was ignorant but blissfully so. Piers was not malicious in his unknowingness. It was Janet who was malicious in that she held the knowledge but she did not transfer that much needed knowledge. Janet then played the ‘pity’ card which was not right. Janet was also extremely rude to Piers in her tweets.

    Piers did not have to highlight her story at all – ever…Janet first and foremost was on Piers CNN to sell her book!

    My respect for Janet Mock has diminished because she did not educate Piers and The Viewers when she could have, instead she was sullen and retaliated and set back the transgendered community by her actions on his show and on twitter.

    • Thumb up 3

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      Piers is that you?

      Firstly, it’s trangender (it’s not a noun) and how can you blame her? It’s hard in general to call people out in the moment, let alone when you’re doing an interview that’s going to be broadcast across the country (and world). Also, don’t you DARE act like Janet didn’t have a right to be ‘rude’, as you say. I’d be more than rude if I were in her situation. He misgendered her, interrupted her, sensationalised her life and didn’t even once ask about ‘Redefining Realness’. How about criticizing Piers for his privileged ranting!!?? If your respect for Janet has diminished after she stood up for herself, I’m not sure you ever respected her in the first place.

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        Sometimes it’s hard to speak out right then and there. Yes, she had a responsibility but she’s also a person who was trying to get her point across on national television without coming across as an angry black transgender woman. I for one as a female of color know what it’s like to be in the moment with someone and realizing after the fact that they said some borderline homophobic racist shit and getting pissed about it after the fact.

        Now whether she was right to go to Twitter to vent is another story all together…..

  14. Thumb up 1

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    I cringed at the awkward forced laughter before the break. What could have been so good took a turn for the worst in this interview. Why have someone come onto your show whose transgendered if you’re not going to have the common decency to address them with the proper pronouns? His strange fascination with her genitalia was creeping me out! Who cares what her past boyfriends said?! What the hell does that have to do with anything? Nobody gives a shit what any of his former lovers have to say….his thinly veiled transhphobia was disgusting to watch and Janet handled it with grace and class on the show. Then lashing out like she should kiss his feet for even entertaining the idea of having graced her with the opportunity on his show so that he could call her he, she & everything in between? Fuck outta here with that mess!

    If this is how the average Joe thinks we have such a depressingly long way to go.

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    Stories like this confuse me. I may have been a female all my life but for the first 29 I was in a male body, so I was physically male. I have no animosity about being refereed to as such, it is a fact. There were terms as well, pre and post op which helped people that interacted with me to understand. Like it or not people need labels to deal and cope. It may or may not be right but that is how it is. Once the operation was complete I was truly transgender because I had transitioned from one gender to another. I don’t understand certain people being offended when asked if they have had surgery. When asked I don’t get all bat shit crazy or secretive I say, yes, in 1994. Before surgery I would say no. I had nothing to hide. Honesty has always been the best policy in my life and I have to say I have garnered a lot of respect for my honesty and openness.

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    I missed this when it was happening, as I have been very busy at work and I don’t tend to tune in to FOX-Lite (CNN) terribly often anyway.

    Whenever I deal with media interviewers, I always make sure I have them prepped, especially when it comes to the whole “born male” assumption. It’s okay for them to say I was “assigned male at birth” because that is true – but the fact is that the initial assignment was a mistake. I may have spent much of my life trying to assimilate in society as a man (at this point it was 3/4 of that life), but I never was one.

    I don’t like the whole “MTF” concept – it presumes that I was originally actually male. I prefer T2F or WBT, thank you (Trans-to-female, Woman born trans).

    With that as a preface, I don’t think Piers Morgan was properly prepped. And he (and to be fair, a lot of other people) really does need to learn better.

    Then again, there are different and conflicting narratives coming from people within the trans community, too. There are evolving medical, scientific and sociocultural understandings of what trans people are – and the term “trans” is inclusive of so many different experiences, too. The thing is, the predominant view in the medical community only 49 years ago in 1965 was that trans people are “delusional members of their assigned sex for whom any treatment is merely palliative” (paraphrased from a report of a blue ribbon medical panel commissioned by the New York City Department of Health).

    I’d suggest that Piers Morgan’s sensationalistic POV is somewhat more evolved than that – and I am even willing to admit that on seeing the original interview (I have not yet seen the follow-up), that he was trying to be sympathetic. I think he wasn’t properly prepped, and he blew it.

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    I am frustrated that this happened to Janet – really, what a terrible way for an ‘ally’ to react. Ugh.

    However, I am now also gleefully anticipating the smackdown to come with the live show, and I cross all my fingers and toes that this will end up on youtube so I can indeed see it!

    JANET’S GONNA SCHOOL YOU SO HARD

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    Though I definitely understand Janet’s reaction, it wasn’t the best way to address the situation. I think Piers did genuinely mean well (initially) – as others have said, his flaw was ignorance, not malice. Though it shouldn’t have been Janet’s responsibility to educate Piers, it would have been more effective (and politer, whether or not one believes Piers Morgan deserves politeness) to have attempted to do so. (Piers himself should have responded through apology rather than additional rudeness, but such is humanity. *sigh*)

    Others here have condemned Piers, and I think he should have come into the interview better informed, but I don’t blame him for his ignorance. Most cisgender folks, having little to no experience with transgender people, wrongly assume that the latter transition due to a personal choice later in life. They think of it similarly to a religious conversion – which is of course a totally inaccurate comparison, but I think a forgivable one. It’s definitely hard to forgive when you feel personally insulted – but that’s what trans people and allies have to do in order for progress.

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