Comedian Dave Chappelle is coming under fire for jokes that some people say might be construed as transphobic or harmful to the trans community.
In a recent stand-up performance, Chappelle criticized the idea of offering homeless transgender people shelter, because some transgender people who transition to another gender may still be biologically male.
He said this applies even if they use the bathroom at school.
“And you remember, when you hear a joke, the person who just heard the joke — the person who’s on the receiving end of the joke — they’re going to think it’s funny to some degree, and then you have the other audience, and they’re going to think the joke is problematic or transphobic or whatever. But you can’t, like, just say, ‘No, no, no, no, I didn’t say that.’ If you say you didn’t say that, they’re going to believe you. The protocol in comedy is: Say you didn’t say it. I’ve heard plenty of people say they didn’t say that and it’s not the case.”
Chappelle has said he would be willing to perform a stand-up show “with 10 trans guys” in the audience.
He also said during the show, “Me and a couple of really hot trans people, we might be on a beach somewhere. Thaaaat’s how I think it works, is to be on a beach somewhere. I am thinking in the Bahamas with a couple of really hot trans women.”
He then jokes about “male civil rights” and says, “they call it the shark fin trick.”
The comedian also goes on to say that trans people use the restroom for sex, not gender.
Chappelle has not commented on his stand-up jokes on social media. But some people who did Twitter aren’t happy.
Eugene Gu, transgender author and comedian, called Chappelle’s joke “absolutely terrible” and said he is causing harm to the trans community.
He also tweeted that Chappelle was only comparing transgender people to people “who plan terrorist attacks.”
Krissy Hedoes, a trans feminist, wrote that “comedians are supposed to be honest … Chappelle isn’t.”
“I hope that his trans audience see that he was saying absolutely nothing about us, but that this statement exemplifies the racist, transphobic ideology still extremely prevalent today in politics and society in general,” she added.
A trans woman named Aleah is looking forward to a future when comedians don’t make transphobic jokes. She tweeted: “You may see trans comedians speaking up on their own twitter — maybe this will lead to a day when people who are in power cannot say absolutely anything about anything and everyone will be safe.”