The hashtag #TransFolksAreNotJokes erupted on Monday after a conversation on a major radio show that made light of violence against trans women.
The subject of the boycott is a morning radio show called The Breakfast Club. In an episode posted online on July 28, comedian Lil Duval and the hosts DJ Envy, Charlamagne tha God, and Angela Yee begin talking about the trans community.
Because Lil Duval uses a slur to refer to the trans community, I’m not going to transcribe the entire exchange, but you can watch and listen to the problematic conversation starting at about seven minutes in here.
After laughing for a bit about the correct term to use when referring to trans people (here’s a guide in case you’re still confused), DJ Envy asked Lil Duval what he would do if, after having sex with a woman, the woman told him she is trans.
“This might sound messed up and I don’t care,” the comedian said. “She dying. I can’t deal with that.” (He later attempted to clarify his comments, saying, “I didn’t say I’m gonna kill transgenders. I said if one did that to me...and they didn’t tell me, I’m going to be so mad I’m probably going to want to kill them.”)
These remarks are particularly offensive given the violence perpetuated against trans women. According to GLAAD, at least 15 trans women have been killed in the U.S. so far this year. The organization reports all 15 women killed so far this year were women of color.
After some cross-talk, Charlamagne tha God, one of the hosts of the show, pointed to a photo of author and trans rights activist Janet Mock, who had been a guest on the show earlier. He asked Lil Duval if he thought Mock was pretty.
Duval replied “nope,” and misgendered Mock in his response, using the male pronoun “he.”
Mock, who was a guest on the show just a few days before, wrote about the incident and her disappointment with the show for using her image “as a literal prop” for “laughs, vitriol, and a deeper call and justification for violence” in a post on Allure’s website.
“On a black program that often advocates for the safety and lives of black people, its hosts laughed as their guest advocated for the murder of black trans women who are black people, too!,” Mock wrote.
Transgender Law Center national organizer Raquel Willis put a callout on social media, where she encouraged a boycott of the show and spread the hashtag #TransFolksAreNotJokes:
We live in a time where we have a president who is openly saying it is okay to discriminate and disrespect trans people. We live in a time when politicians are actively trying to pass legislation to keep trans people out of public spaces and we live in a time where there has been at least 15 reported transgender deaths in our community this year. It is beyond time for everyone, whether you are transgender or not to show up and say trans folks are not jokes, and we deserve respect and the ability to live our lives to our fullest potential.
Other users on Twitter joined in on the conversation:
Over the weekend, activists brought the issue to a Politicon event where one of the hosts, Charlamagne tha God, was speaking.
Lil Duval also weighed in: