The ladies of the television show The View really are a bunch of knuckleheads. They consistently bring up important, complex topics and boil them down to the basest, most disrespectful statements one can imagine.
When Jennifer Beals and Cybill Shepherd were on the view to promote the new season of The L Word, the hostesses had an opportunity to really discuss what it’s like to be a sort of iconic figure, to put lesbian life into primetime cable tv. They had an opportunity to bring up storylines like the poorly handled Moira/Max transition, the crazy Jenny Schecter business, the important Don’t Ask Don’t Tell storyline involving Rose Rollins’ character Tasha. What did they instead choose to talk about? “Is it different kissing a woman than a man?” “You guys look so glamorous. I’m used to seeing, like, UPS drivers and stuff who are lesbians.”
And that’s only one example. Most recently, there’s this fun bit, about the transman who became pregnant:
Let’s get a few things straight here:
Thomas Beatie was born a woman. He hasn’t been a woman ever in his life. He’s always been a man. You know why? Because that’s how he identifies. As a man.
Thomas Beatie’s wife is infertile. She’s incapable of becoming pregnant and birthing a child. Fortunately for Thomas and his wife, he never completed sexual reassignment surgery. This means that he still has a vagina, a uterus, and functioning ovaries. Instead of having the SRS, Thomas decided instead to take a course of Testosterone, which allowed his clitoris to enlarge and function in a similar fashion to a penis. So when Thomas and his wife decided they really wanted to have a child, Thomas stopped the hormone therapy prior to becoming pregnant. He’s currently pregnant and is due in July.
Joy Behar, who I though should really know better, says to Barbara Walters, “Is he really a man, though, Barbara? I mean, everywhere?” I find this frustrating because of Behar’s support and understanding of the LGB community. I suppose that support and understanding doesn’t actually extend to the trans community. If it didn’t, she’d know that this question is pretty insulting.
Sherri Shepherd, who spends a good portion of the clip spewing unintelligible transphobic rhetoric, finally gets her act together toward the end of this clip long enough to give us her lowest-common-denominator version of the story:
“I get a little upset because now you tryin’ – you don’t want to be a woman, you want to be a man, but you want to do what a woman is doin’. What’s it gonna be? You can’t straddle both sides of the fence like that.”
And the audience bursts into applause.
Perhaps my understanding of this situation is a bit more liberal and inclusive than most Americans. Perhaps it has something to do with the article I just read about redefining the concept of the maternal body. Perhaps it also has something to do with the idea that the aim of feminism, by my definition, is to create an equal playing field for all people. And I would be willing to be that Sherri Shepherd believes that women should have the same rights as men in most arenas of existence, aside from this one.
Mostly though, I just really agree with Thomas Beatie’s statement in his article in The Advocate: “Wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire, but a human desire.”
And by the way, where the hell was Whoopi in this clip? She sat there quietly, not saying a damn word.
It’s not that hard, folks. Thomas is a man who happens to have working woman parts. This doesn’t mean he will be a better parent or a worse parent than anyone else. It means he will be a parent. Maybe you find that uncomfortable or “freaky” or “creepy” or “gross” or whatever else you want to call it. But guess what? Not everyone finds it as unsettling as you.
And really: most of you are probably never going to meet him anyway, so what the hell does it matter to you?