What Did Roseanne Say That Was So Transphobic?

in Featured/Marti Abernathey

I heard that question asked over and over on Twitter last night after Roseanne Barr tweeted:

Well, the short answer is, “where do I start?” Barr is speaking of is Colleen Francis. Francis was using the sauna in a women’s locker room inside the recreation center at Evergreen State College when a few girls from a local swim team complained.

[Editor’s note: This incident was later debunked]

What do I find transphobic about Barr’s statement?

I’ve not seen ONE media report that says Francis is a preoperative transsexual. I’ve not seen ONE media report that the girls in question saw Francis’ genitals. It only said:

“They’re uncomfortable with him being in there, her, being in there and are shocked by it,” said parent Kristi Holterman.

But Barr’s comments only got worse:

Regardless of what the perception of the world is of a trans woman, she is still not a woman in Barr’s eyes. No matter if a trans woman is perceived by her employers, friends, and society as a woman, they’re still a man to Barr. It doesn’t matter that they will get paid less than a man, get fewer promotions than a man, or be poorer than a man. It won’t matter that they are sexually harassed as women, unsafe in men’s space because they are perceived to be women, and suffer from misogyny. None of that matters to Barr. What matters is what no one sees, namely their genitals.

Transgender women shouldn’t be there because young girls are uncomfortable? Should lesbians be barred because they might make these girls uncomfortable? Try replacing transgender with “black”, “Jewish”, or “lesbian” and then tell me that it’s not transphobic.

What people should be uncomfortable with is hating/discriminating against someone they don’t understand. In the words of McCassidy123:

“I am a captain of the swim team at Capital High School (one of the swim teams that practices at the college) I personally do not have any issue with the woman being in our locker room so to generalize that the “girls are uncomfortable” is not true. I feel this woman has just as much of a right to be there than anyone else and am annoyed how out of control this has gotten.”

I’m glad that this teen actually gets it. Gets the REALITY that trans women, post-op or pre-op, are not a danger.  She’s not falling for the mythical “transgender predator” meme. I wish Barr was enlightened as this teen is, but can I  really expect enlightenment from someone that wrote:

Then the Transgendered versus the Butch Dyke wars started—to see two of those folks fighting about being female was quite an eye-opener for me. You haven’t lived until you have seen a huge guy with boobs talking about female hormones and deciding to keep his penis, and how that was a feminist issue.” – Roseanne Barr from “Roseannearchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm

From Barr I probably shouldn’t expect much.

Marti Abernathey is the founder of the Transadvocate and the previous managing editor. Abernathey has worn many different hats, including that of podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist. She's been a part of various internet radio ventures such as TSR Live!, The T-Party, and The Radical Trannies, TransFM, and Sodium Pentathol Sunday. As an advocate she's previously been involved with the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance, Rock Indiana Campaign for Equality, and the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition. She's taken vital roles as a grass roots community organizer in The Indianapolis Tax Day Protest (2003), The Indy Pride HRC Protest (2004), Transgender Day of Remembrance (2004), Indiana's Witch Hunt (2005), and the Rally At The Statehouse (the largest ever GLBT protest in Indiana - 3/2005). In 2008 she was a delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention and a member of Barack Obama's LGBT Steering and Policy Committee.