Before we descend, as it is possible that we might, into the minutiae of the distinction between ladyboys and transssexuals (and Jonathan Ross) I’d like to call a pause, step back and ask what it is that IS offensive in the wude boy’s wudery (a highly salacious routine about thai ladyboy “air stewards”).
And as with so many such issues, i am left wondering just how much this is to do with “teh tranz”…how much to do with simple, stupid boorishness.
Let’s try a simple thought experiment.
Can i see your nuts, sir?
How far do folk imagine i would get if – and i am pondering whether i should, or whether our Jonathan is really worth the effort – i rang his agent on Monday morning and asked if i could have a picture of his genitals. Jonathan’s, that is – not the agent’s.
Or indeed those of Jane Goldman, the outwardly brighter half of the duo, responsible for one of my all-time favourite pics – “Stardust”.
(Which incidentally, in its camp cameo by airship captain, Robert de Niro appears altogether more sensitive to trans issues – if not entirely comprehending of them – than does Jane’s old man).
We-ell… odds on they’ll slam the phone down. Pretty much favourite is “no way”. And outside result to look for in the days after is “a visit from the old bill”.
Why, you utter pervert! How dare you make use of our country’s squeaky clean telephonic equipment to impugn the virtue of beautiful young ladies! Don’t you know that right is reserved to the exceptional and talented Mr Ross (all hail!).
Yeah. You can sort of see the irony.
Except on Monday i have bigger fish to fry, including a meet with a large retailer where i will be trying to help them sort out their trans(-unfriendly) policies. A rendezvous with the swedish embassy and – omg! is everything in life interconnected? – a support group for female genital health (of which more later).
Now where in there am i going to find the time to worry at – or even about – the old boy’s old man?
So i probably won’t. But i might.
Some of us have grown up
And in there is the real reason why, first off, Mr Ross’ “comedy” is not so much comedy as just plain schoolboy rudeness. I love the way this news was broken by Paris Lees on her blog today (loving her writing style more with everything i read!).
But the truly relevant post was actually something she wrote some months back. It was about the curiosity, the fascination folk have for what trans women – and men – keep in their knickers. How, whatever the situation, whatever the conversation, sidling in there somehow is the rude, the stupid presumption that somehow it is OK to ask me, you, everyone about their genitals.
Except, as our little thought experiment probably demonstrated: try it the other way round; show too much interest in a comedian’s genitals and chances are you’ll quickly find yourself locked up.
Its a funny old world.
Though that’s the crux of it. I think we’ve moved on from the days when Mrs Slocombe’s pussy (alongside John Inman’s camp sales assistant) was considered the height of comedy.
But slowly, slowly, comedy – excepting Frankie Boyle – is being weaned off the easy option of just making crude assertions about female anatomy. So maybe its time to do the same with trans anatomy.
The real transphobia
Of course, we can debate the comic aspect of this til the cows come home. The thing that really makes a difference…really stands out as insensitive and stupid was the woss’s wesponse to the first complainant on twitter: “lighten up Sir. Madam. Whatever.”
And then he claimed not to be transphobic.
Oh dear. I fear that’s a word he obviously hasn’t even begun to understand.
And whether as a community we wish to pillory him – or debag him – for his insensitive remarks about ladyboys, its in that single tweet that his true colours are to be seen.