Two Awesome Transgender Women Put Katie in Her Place

One of my lovely friends just posted a link to this interview on the Katie Couric show with Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera. This is an interview with a trans woman like you have never seen on talk TV. Usually, when you see a trans woman being interviewed on a show like this, the focus is all on how hard it was for her growing up and what kind of surgeries she went through. It's all about 'understanding what it's like to be trans'. Well, Carrera and Cox were having none of that and they explained why in a beautiful and elegant way.

The interview with Carrera starts off about her modeling career and how well she's doing and then drifts into talking about when she knew she was trans. Then Couric just outright asks her if she's had surgery on her private parts. I think a lot of people who go on shows like this think that they are obligated to answer the hosts questions. After all, they brought her on there because she's trans. That's probably what Couric is going to ask her. But to her credit, Carrera flat out tells her that it's private and she doesn't want to talk about it. Couric tries to make it seem as though she accepts that but comes back with the old 'but people want to understand' excuse. Carrera beautifully counters by saying that these things have been discussed so many times before and there's no need to do that anymore, that she would rather show people that being a trans woman is not just about the transition, there is life after that. I get that people are curious and confused and I do think it's okay but I think that what Carrera did is exactly how that should be addressed. It's okay if you don't get it. You don't have to get it. You just have to see her as a beautiful, strong, smart woman like any other beautiful smart strong woman. You absolutely do not need to know what surgeries she's had and what's going on in her panties to be able to do that. That's what she said, but in a much nicer way than I did.

Then Laverne Cox came on and really laid the smack down. But she's so confident and sweet and awesome that it doesn't feel like a smack down. When Couric asked her how she felt about talking about her transition she said that just talking about trans women's bodies objectifies them and it focuses attention on the wrong thing. She's right. Trans women don't need people to feel comfortable with their genitals, they need people to just be comfortable with the fact that they exist and they are just people like anyone else. Cox then explained the case of a trans woman who was beaten to death by some men who found out she was trans after they cat-called her. She said that this kind of violence is common for trans women and that's what we need to be talking about - not genitals. Boo-ya! I wish I could hug her.

Score another one for seeing trans folk on TV just being people like anyone else. Sadly, we rarely see it. Too often still, the trans person (or character on a TV show) is there specifically to be portrayed as different or worse even, as the butt of a joke. But if we saw more trans folk just being themselves, I think life would become so much easier and less dangerous and scary, not just for trans people but for all of us. When we understand that people are just people, we don't need to be scared or threatened by the way they dress or express their gender.

Cox rocks and she will be in Edmonton on March 8th at the University of Alberta. I don't have details of time and place yet but we'll put it on the Tickle Trunk calendar as soon as I do.