Is Ellen Transphobic?
On Sunday night, during the Oscar Awards, Ellen DeGeneres opened with a joke about Liza Minnelli that drew some harsh criticism from some who didn’t think it was funny.
“Hello to the best Liza Minnelli impersonator I’ve ever seen,” DeGeneres joked about the icon who has been a favorite subject for female impersonators and drag artists over the years. “Good job, sir.”
Director, Bruce LaBruce, didn’t smile:
I did not appreciate Ellen’s mean joke about Liza. I found it transphobic and disrespectful.
— Bruce LaBruce (@BruceLaBruce)
You can read more here, and see a video clip of the joke with a shot of Liza Minnelli’s reaction. At the end of the article there’s a poll asking, “Do you think Ellen’s joke about Liza Minnelli was transphobic?” There are three ways to answer: Yes, No, and I think the issue is more complicated than “yes” or “no”
I took the poll and answered with the third choice. I think it is more complicated. Some gay men have been performing in stage as Liza Minnelli for the past forty years. I know of one right here in New Hope. I can’t share the most recent photo of him performing as Liza, but I can give you this link where there’s a photo on Facebook. I’ve personally known plenty more female impersonators who do Liza.
I also think there’s a difference, in general, between transgender people and gay female impersonators. There’s a big difference. For one transgender (for men and women) is a lifestyle and it defines who they are, and for the other female impersonating is a profession. There are even a few straight female impersonators. So if anything…and I hate to take this to a different place altogether…whoever thinks Ellen’s joke is “transphobic” is really passing out the insults to transgender people because the majority of transgender people I’ve known are NOT female impersonators. They are people who identify as women (or men), mentally and physically, and they have nothing at all to do with Liza Minnelli in the first place.
And that’s why it gets more complicated.
Nate Berkus & Banana Republic
I always find anything Nate Berkus does interesting because I remember back in 2007 when Tony was going through a few serious health issues Nate Berkus was on a talk show describing the ordeal he went through when he lost his partner at the time in the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka. A lot of people still don’t know he was there on vacation and went through the kind of hell most of us will never know.
In December 2004 Berkus and his partner, photographer Fernando Bengoechea, were vacationing at a beach resort in Sri Lanka when the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami hit. While Berkus survived, Bengoechea is missing and presumed dead. Berkus appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show on January 17, 2005, to talk about his ordeal and the loss of his love.
It was a very emotional interview, and Berkus actually helped me cope with what I was dealing with at the time.
And now Berkus has a new partner, finance Jeremiah Brent, and they’re making fashion history being featured as models who are also real life couples in a campaign called, True Outfitters.
As The New York Times reported, ads featuring the stylish duo are featured in InStyle and Rolling Stone, among other publications. The “True Outfitters” campaign focuses on pairs of models who are also real-life couples, including Argentinian model and Tulum hotelier Nicolas Malleville and his family and European models Sara Blomqvist and Jeremy Young.
Berkus and Brent are the only gay couples featured.
You can read more here, and view photos.
I love Berkus’s line of bedding. I think he’s one of the most underestimated designers out there.
Harlem Church Slams Gays
The ATLAH Worldwide Missionary Church in Harlem put up a sign that’s as homophobic as it is ridiculous.
The sign says:
“Obama has released the homo demons on the black man. Look out black woman. A white homo may take your man”
Not only is this disrespectful to the President, it’s about as inaccurate as anything gets. Before I met Tony I dated several men of African American descent and a few were also dating women at the time. I wasn’t “taking” these men, they were making a conscious choice on their own.