Janet Mock once again brightened our TV screens when she appeared on The Colbert Report to promote her book, Redefining Realness, and discuss how the media should talk to trans people, as well as the importance of respecting people’s self identities. Stephen Colbert, who does have a somewhat rough past when it comes to making transmysogynistic jokes (in what he claims is satire), was making jokes at the expense of transphobes themselves. While things were copacetic over in Colbert Nation, they weren’t quite so great over on Piers Morgan‘s twitter feed.
This interview wasn’t perfect — Colbert still used terms like “transgendered” and “transgenders” — but he seemed to actually want to learn how to be a better ally. When Mock explained that people are born babies and are then assigned gender at birth, Colbert didn’t become angry or insist that she “was a boy until age 18.” Colbert used his fake indignation to highlight how ridiculous Morgan’s real indignation actually was.
At the beginning of the interview, Colbert brought out a button that Mock could press that played a recording of her saying her now infamous tweet directed at Morgan, “Get it the f*k together” whenever Colbert messed up. Colbert then asked Mock why she didn’t want her story sensationalized, since that’s what sells books. Mock brilliantly replied that she’d rather talk about issues that effect trans women of color, like being able to safely walk down the street, receive medical care and basically live their lives not in constant fear. Mock was also able to explain the importance of letting people determine how they want to identify themselves, and the importance of letting people know how you identify when you introduce yourself. Even through Colbert’s feigned confusion, this interview was obviously much more pleasant for Mock than some previous ones. Towards the end of the interview, Colbert actually asked what we should call babies, instead of gendering them before they even have a chance to understand what gender is.
This is a breath of fresh air after Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera‘s awkward conversation on Katie Couric’s show and the Piers Morgan’s double dip of misgendering Janet Mock and then attacking her with straight up transmisogyny and vitriol. However, Mock still couldn’t escape from the horrifyingly immature grip of Morgan’s twitter account.
Morgan is so self-absorbed that he couldn’t stop himself from commenting on Mock’s interview. Sure, Colbert made a couple of jokes at Morgan’s expense, but this is far from the first time he’s done that. Plus, Morgan aimed all of his hatred and crocodile tears at Mock, not at Colbert. Morgan seemed especially repulsed at the idea of letting children determine their own gender instead of gendering them from day one.
It’s getting hard to believe just how immature Morgan is being about the whole situation. He made a mistake, Janet Mock called him out on it — even went back on his show to explain in detail how he was offensive — and he’s still acting like he’s the victim here. What’s even more bizarre is how he keeps saying that Mock is “whining” and “playing the victim card,” when that’s exactly what he’s been doing this whole time. He really does seem like a spoiled child who got his hand caught in the cookie jar and doesn’t want to face the consequences. I’m almost loath to bring attention to his temper tantrum, however, he insists on throwing it in public for everyone to see. He’s even still bafflingly claiming to be the victim of “cisphobia.”
If I wasn’t seeing this with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe that a grown man with his own TV show on a major cable news network would be able to act this way without any real consequences. This man, who claims to be progressive and an ally, is openly and boldly bullying not just Janet Mock, but the entire transgender community.
Here’s a tip for anyone who wants to be able to claim allyship with trans people: when the very trans people who you claim to be supporting repeatedly tell you that you’re messing up and being offensive, listen to them. Piers Morgan is apparently having a very hard time learning this lesson. This is not how you support trans people. This is not how you be an ally. This is not how you act like a mature adult.
It’s a real shame that Morgan threw this tantrum and was able to take away some of the spotlight from Mock. Let’s remember what’s really important here. Janet Mock, a trans woman of color, was a guest on The Colbert Report talking about her New York Times best selling book, and no matter what a certain transphobic and infantile TV host thinks, that is something to be celebrated.
Damnit Piers, shut up.
This is not only bullying and aggressive, but dangerous. He’s not just promoting the delegitimization of trans* points of view, but coming off as a harrasser and stalker. Does he just have a google alert for “Janet Mock Piers Morgan?” Jesus.
“If I wasn’t seeing this with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe that a grown man with his own TV show on a major cable news network would be able to act this way without any real consequences. This man, who claims to be progressive and an ally, is openly and boldly bullying not just Janet Mock, but the entire transgender community.”
Why hasn’t he been reprehended by his network?
Because the feelings of white men are still more important.
Geez, who gave that man-child a twitter? This is ridiculous.
I’m just going to hold off for the day when he realizes he owes Janet Mock and the trans community an apology.
In other news, The Colbert Report interview went well, any and all tv personalities should take notes.
Are you sure this isn’t a 14 year old boy that suffers from some sort of advanced aging disease? There is no way that a middle aged man who calls himself an ally would say this. No way at all!
If I was going to be nice I would say that this is due to his own bruised ego. I honestly think that he is just grabbing for attention and wants people to feel sorry for him. He needs to seriously stop. There is no such thing as cisphobia.
It might also be that he wants so hard to have the label of ally for publicity reasons that he’s willing to completely lose any ground that he has. (He’s literally contradicting himself!) Someone needs to call him on this. People have had repercussions for way less than this on twitter and real life.
Oh good god. American friends, can I just take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly on behalf of the entire United Kingdom for inflicting this absolute prick upon your networks. Believe me, nobody here wants him back on this side of the Atlantic, ever (unless it’s related to phone hacking charges).
As a Britisher I second this. And repeat; send him somewhere bad…like a snake pit…but maybe he’d be too comfortable amongst is own kind.
Yes to this! as a fellow Brit I could not agree more. As much as it may pain you, please keep him America.
Good for Stephen Colbert – it’s nice to hear about someone in the media who is trying to get things right and wants to do better when they slip up.
Piers Morgan continues to be the worst.
Honestly, I thought Stephen Colbert was pretty bad too. It’s a little hard to tell with him because of his fake conservative persona. I understand that some of the offensive things he said were meant to be recognized as offensive, but even so, I was very uncomfortable with the segment that proceeded Janet’s interview. A lot of it just felt like it was making fun of trans people. He probably had good intentions, but I thought it was executed poorly. Poking fun at transphobia is hard to do when so many people (including liberals) are still transphobic – a lot of your audience is going to end up laughing at transgender people rather than at the bigots.
I hated how he kept calling her “baby”. Blegh. But honestly, that exposure introduced a lot of people to gendering babies/pronouns and as a result a lot of people are having discussions about it right now!
YES! His segment about the facebook gender markers was very badly executed. It seemed like his audience was laughing at the fact that there are many different markers to choose from, which is fucked up. I would hope that wasn’t the desired effect, but it was the effect.
that’s basically his character… i’ve watched his show forever and his position is always to say the thing that your worst nightmare conservative would say. he actually seemed less hyperbolic and more restrained with janet than he usually is with his interview subjects, tbh
I get that it’s his character, and I do appreciate that he was trying to be supportive here. He does not, however, have a great track record with trans issues. He has made a lot of jokes at trans womens’ expense in the past including using trans slurs repeatedly. Here’s a bunch of examples:http://yourfaveisproblematic.tumblr.com/post/50119377326/stephen-colbert
When you throw words like T***** and S**M*** around that way, even in character, it crosses a line (think about if it was the n word instead). I’m glad he didn’t use any slurs this time and I hope that means he’s learned something. Still, I’m not about to start praising him as a great ally.
Are you suggesting that people would react differently if it was the n word? ‘Cause that’s just straight up inaccurate/ignorant. Racial slurs are totally still acceptable in the media. Hell, we have a whole bunch of sports teams named the “Redskins.”
Anyway, I agree with Riese.
Yes, it’s his schtick and he soft-pedals it whenever he’s interviewing someone involving a subject about which he’s not well versed. But it’s also the schtick of most transphobia used ‘comedically’ on tv (CBS shows, Letterman, Conan, etc.). They get the same old ‘tranny’ jokes in, but it’s always said by a supposedly unenlightened character so they can never be accused of bigotry. Ultimately, though, the impulse is the same… let’s get laffs about ‘dudes in a dress.’ It’s the old white people trick about racism (or any bigotry) told with supposed irony makes it a comment on racism and not just more of the same bigotry. In the real world, when bigotry is said by a character on a mass media who is popular, it just legitimizes the bigotry in most consumers’ minds. Don’t know if you haven’t heard this yet, but Americans really suck at sensing irony.
I don’t know which is worse: the fact that Piers Morgan exists, or the fact that his astonishingly childish bullying behaviour – which should be a HUGE embarrassment to his TV network and sponsors – is being pretty much condoned by their silence.
In other news, Piers Morgan is STILL whining :p I just don’t get how a grown man has the guts to do sh*t like that on twitter. A GROWN MAN you guys. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times ‘wtf’ came out of my mouth while reading his tweets.
Like Alice says, Piers Morgan is pretty much universally hated this side of the Atlantic. Glad that the Lefties and Liberals in the States are seeing what a slimy so and so he is.
I got worried last year when loads of people on FB were commenting about how much they liked his anti-guns position. While I agree on that, only by comparison with channels like Fox news could Pier Morgan look progressive.
If I’d realized Piers Morgan was going to re-tweet part of what I posted on Twitter, I’d have worded it so he couldn’t omit what I said about his transphobia and transmisogyny.
Colbert calling her baby the whole time was not that cool either.
Sadly, the main area of misunderstanding still was not addressed. The general public conflates gender and sex. The fact that the two terms have been used interchangeably for years just makes this more difficult to explain.
Sex is a physical thing. You have certain kinds of chromosomes; you have an “innie” or an “outie” between your legs; you may or may not have secondary characteristics like breasts or an adams apple.
Gender is a psychological, emotional thing. One can be a woman regardless of what is in their pants. One can be a male and not have (or ever have had) a penis.
When Piers said Janet Mock used to be a man, that is where the misunderstanding comes in. Yes, she was born with a male body, but she was never a man…she was always a woman/girl mentally and emotionally.
This seems to be where everything starts to fall apart when discussing trans people. There is a very real difference between sex and gender. The fact that the majority of people on the planet are congruent in those areas, plus common usage for years equates sex and gender, are at the crux of the matter.
(Oh, and while we are at it…sexual orientation has absolutely NOTHING to do with being trans. Trans people are gay, straight, lesbian, bi-, pan-, a- and any other orientation you may identify.)
So…back to the point…we need to educate the general public that Sex and Gender are not the same thing, and that identifying with one does not mean you must identify with the other.
Sex is just as method of assigning gender to bodies. It isn’t any more objective than “gender.” Policing your interpretation of a trans person’s sex is just as crappy as misgendering them.
Boo hoo, seems as if CNN has canceled Pier’s show.
*unsuccessfully* attempting to wipe sh*t-eating grin off my face.*
Yay!!!! Take that, major Arse-Hat.
everyone wins when Piers Morgan loses.
Personally, I’m hoping that Piers found out that his narcissistic crap show was cancelled through the news the same way all of us did… as a result of CNN calling and leaving a voice message to let him know he’s fired, only to later call into his inbox and delete it.
It’s like an homage to his British media roots.
Reminds me of the time a cis girl (who now identifies as bi but had thought she was straight at the time) decided she was an ally, then proceeded to whine about “heterophobia” when she watched Denise Frohman’s “Dear Straight People” and screamed at me for telling her that she doesn’t get to determine who our allies are, we do.
Fuck cis people, honestly.