I try to keep this blog a very positive space because, while pretty much any and everything can be found online, positivity seems to be the one thing lacking on the internet. As such, I tend to stay away from posting most things negative because, while they’re the articles which people seem to be most interested in, I sincerely believe that they ultimately have profound prejudicial effects on our minds… and our soul, if you’re inclined to believe in that realm.
For some time now, media outlets everywhere have been reporting on the alleged text messages between JLo’s boyfriend – now, ex-boyfriend – Casper Smart and a transsexual transgender model. Neither Jennifer Lopez nor Casper Smart had bothered to comment on the alleged affair. While I could have mentioned it here, I decided against it, because it was an awful, salacious story that was really none of my concern. I would have ignored it altogether except “sources” close in both Jennifer’s and Casper’s camp finally spoke on it today, and something that was said provoked such intense irritation within me, that I’m using the blog as my platform to rant – I sincerely apologise in advance.
Media outlets such as UsWeekly and People said that JLo’s spokesperson “a source” informed them that JLo and Casper had actually amicably broken up over two months ago because they were both so focused on their individual careers that they weren’t able to really invest properly in the relationship. It’s a pretty cliché and generic excuse but, fine, we can suspend our disbelief for a moment and take their word as gospel… it really doesn’t take anything from us. However, while the damage control train should have stopped there, it unfortunately and infuriatingly didn’t. Another “source” went on over to TMZ, and added:
Casper has been a single guy and can text or see whoever he wants, but the idea that he was knowingly texting a transsexual is laughable. He’s not that guy, but like a lot of single guys online he obviously likes to look at a ‘lil T and A.
THE HELL?!?! “… texting a transsexual is laughable”? So, it isn’t laughable that we was texting someone while he was allegedly still with JLO, but it is “laughable” that the person is a transsexual? Don’t even get me started on the “he’s not that guy” angle. What the hot damn hell does that even mean? What kind of “guy” texts a transsexual, then? I just… I’m so… I cannot even right now! When is this attitude of mocking and shaming any individual who identifies as transgender going to end? It seems to be even worse when the transgender individual is – for whatever reason – pre-op.
I am a cisgender male. I completely identify as male and, for the life of me, I cannot imagine myself not being male (except, I suppose, for the academically curious thoughts that everyone has at some point or another about what it would be like to be of the opposite gender). Even so, the idea of making fun of anyone who is transgender is an utterly vile prospect to me. These people deserve nothing but respect and sympathy. I’m not saying that we should throw them a pity party, because that seems just as offensive as blatantly insulting them. However, we need to quit making transgender people the butt of our discriminatory yet completely socially acceptable jokes at every opportunity that we get. I cannot imagine how awful it must be like to go through every day of your life virtually stuck as someone that you believe with everything in you that you are not. Every transitioning transgender individual that I’ve seen online is always so thrilled that they’re finally outwardly appearing as the person they’ve always felt to be on the inside. What the hell is so goddamn hard to understand about that?!
If anyone thinks that I’m taking this completely out of context, I assure you that I am not! This statement given to TMZ, no matter how simple or innocent that it might have appeared, is laced with transphobia. By insinuating that Casper Smart’s involvement with someone who doesn’t conform to a traditional birth-attributed gender definition – and not even necessarily female, if all the rumours about his sexual orientation have even a scintilla of truth to them – is “laughable”, this source is basically saying that there is something wrong with it. It’s as if they’re saying that it makes no sense to even think that he would or should be attracted to a transsexual. Furthermore, their “not that guy” bullshit is just an implicit way of suggesting that the men who do engage in intimacy with transgender women – or transsexuals in this case – is some sort of deviant.
Casper Smart, in my opinion, isn’t of very much consequence in the global social sphere, so if this had been said about him three years ago when no one even knew his name, I probably wouldn’t have minded so much. However, the fact that this involves Jennifer Lopez, who is an internationally recognised celebrity, millions of people are going to be following this sordid little affair. This means that this ridiculous “laughable” statement is going to reach an overwhelming number of people, who are going to internalise it, wittingly or not, and add this negative connotation to transgender persons in their heads.
We need to be careful what we say. This isn’t even about demanding that people be politically correct in everything that they say. It is about ensuring that we give due respect to everyone, even when we’re trying to cover our asses ahem.