I like podcasts…I like sports talk radio…and I listen often to the Max and Marcellus show on ESPN radio. Max Kellerman made some ignorant comments in a recent show. Here is my letter I wrote to him. If you would, take time to read it and think…you may have done something similar without knowing it.
I am a fan, and regular listener to your show via podcast. If you passed me in the street, you would never know I was not assigned at birth to female, though I have always been (and identified as, from earliest memory) female-identified. Similarly, if I chose to cross-dress as a man, you would have no idea that I was a female…unless you talked to me, got to know me and were open-minded enough to understand that I am not trying to fool anyone or clown anyone.
I lead with that, because in discussing Michael Sam this week, you had a horribly unaware, blind and ignorant moment where you indulged in the assumptions thinking-wise that have resulted in the assault and murder of literally millions of trans-women in our nation and around the world. Let me remind you:
You went from talking about how there were already gay players in the locker room, who could not be open about who they were for fear of being ostracized (or worse), who were functioning as good people and good team mates, and that it was silly to think that this ability to have self-control and decorum in the work place would magically evaporate if it were to become acceptable for someone to be openly gay. Your comments were spot on, cogent, and well thought out, as they usually are.
I was horrified when you segued to your experiences in NYC, when a young man when you recounted how you and your friends would go hang out around where “transvestites” were, and try to see if you could figure out which ones were “trying to fool you intentionally”. Marcellus made noises of agreement and then you went on to say essentially that you could understand the violent and even murderous reaction of a person who was attracted to another person that they thought was one gender, and then when finding out they had the genetalia of another gender felt the need to physically assault them and often even murder them. While you were not advocating this, you were indeed issuing them a “get out of jail free” special circumstances card…the implication clearly was that if one person fooled another person in this way that the one who fooled the other deserved whatever they got.
Then, you went back to discussing the issue of sexual orientation, and even made an analogy to the situation of racially discriminated people from years ago…so called “high yellow” people who would try to pass as white, to avoid discrimination, violent assault, and murder…and you decried the results that happened to them when they were outed as black.
Max…omg, how do you not see the elephant in the room here? You told me, and millions of human beings like me that we deserved whatever we got.
Well…here is what we get: If we go out, and be who we are right from the beginning, we get rejected and abused and bullied and policed by the vast majority of people we meet. We are called faggot, queer, and other horrible names, despite the fact that a transsexual is not the same as a transvestite. Did you know that? A transvestite is a gender identified male who was assigned male at birth chromosomally, who has a sexual fetish to dress and act as a woman for sexual gratification with another man whose sexual preference is other men. A transvestite could indeed be called a faggot or queer (why they need to be insulted for that is beyond me), but a transgender woman, or a transsexual woman is far different…she was assigned male at birth, but as always seen herself and understood herself as female. For her, if her sexual preference is men, she is heterosexual. For her, to dress female is normal.
Unfortunately for her, she will be bullied from the start…usually first by her father who thinks she is a pussy or a faggot or a Nancy boy…he will be her first and worst bully. He will usually try to toughen her up via verbal abuse and often with beatings because he feels so inadequate and threatened that a transgender human being was the result of his intercourse with his wife, rather than a “real boy” or a “real girl”. He got a freak…and he must unmake that freak ASAP.
What he doesn’t understand is this: gender is hardwired in the brain, and no amount of bullying, beating, abuse or shaming will ever change anything about the child’s gender. What it will do, however, is drive the child into depression, and in nearly a majority of cases, suicide attempts and actual suicide. It will drive the child to drugs and other harmful things common to any child who is abused.
Then there is the little girl’s mother…who will exclude her from the world of women and deny her the socialization and love and teaching she needs, that any little girl gets from her mother naturally. I could go on, but you are a father aren’t you? Imagine if you will the way your daughter would react if you started treating her like a boy, and pretended that she always was a boy, and shamed her for insisting she was not…you get the point, hopefully.
Then the child goes to school…surely you experienced being picked on for various things as a matter of course growing up? Hurt, didn’t it? Now imagine everyone picking on you about the most basic of things, which was beyond your ability to control? Your gender identity. And imagine that the only option you had was to either wear it, and be abused…or hide it, and live in guilt, shame…and fear. Fear of exposure, and fear of someone finding out and then harming you.
And then multiply that over the years…only to hear someone say that this was wrong to happen to someone who was gay, or black…but it was understandable if it happened to “the tranny” or what you actually said “the transvestites”.
You unwittingly (I hope) dehumanized me, and millions like me…you essentially said that I deserved whatever I got, after first misgendering me with the label transvestite, which ignorantly does not describe me, and most likely did not accurately describe most of the women you used to gather with your boys to mock and jibe.
Of course, I could wear it outright…many who have done this have been literally chased from clubs, bars, parties, department stores, schools and workplaces out into the streets and beaten…badly. Don’t take my word for it…google it. Many more have died from these injuries, and many have flat out been murdered. Nearly always the violence is not a clean death, but it is an assault so as to disfigure and obliterate the physical body of the girl being murdered…such as the girl a few years back who was honest with her boyfriend from the start, who was told by him that she was fine and he didn’t care, who was taken back to her home by him and loved physically and sexually, and then who was struck in the face while she slept repeatedly with a fire extinguisher until her head and face was literally beaten to a pulp and then separated from her body…because the boyfriend felt remorse over his choice…and because he needed her money and car which he stole. She was not found for days, and when she was and the boyfriend arrested, his defense was that she was not a person, but was an “it” and had it coming to her…he was proven to be guilty of this crime, easily, and proven to have known all along…but this defense has commonly been used for decades…the freak had it coming.
Max…does anyone ever have it coming for something like this? Or for anything else? If a conman deceives you, are you entitled to do this to them for that deception?
I am not saying that trans individuals cover up to deceive and glory in the deceived one’s gullibility…I am insisting that the vast majority of trans individuals to the point of virtually all of us…cover up and live stealthily for survival.
See…cover up and try to pass and get found out (or outed by others which is even worse)…and get assaulted or beaten or killed…or just ostracized for the rest of our life…or wear it loud and proud, and get assaulted or beaten or killed, and lose our jobs, our families, our friends, our lives…and be told it is our own fault for “choosing to be a freak”.
It is not a choice to be transgender…it is a choice as to what to do about it…a Hobson’s Choice.
I am not attacking you, I am not some radical freak assaulting you with my email (but even if I were, that is nothing compared to actual assault), and I am not trying to police you.
I am appealing to you, because over the years of listening to you I have believed you are smart, sensitive, and at heart a good person…and you also have a position of influence. But only if you are able to have the blinders you wear in regards to transgender people pierced and removed…only if you would go to the actual trouble to educate yourself. It is not hard. You could very easily Google Janet Mock, Julia Serrano, Autumn Sandine…you could go to the local LGTB center in your city and ask to be put in contact with a reputable counselor whom you could interview and become informed.
And lastly, especially in light of the death of Dr Vanderbilt (suicide over being outed by Grantland magazine), caused by an arm of ESPN…maybe you could even do a show about this topic…something basic…something to help others understand the difference between the sexual fetish engaged in my gay men called transvestitism, and the actual hardwired existential condition of being one gender in the brain and mind and heart and soul, and a different gender in the physical body.
I don’t expect an answer, or require one. In fact, I actually think you will most likely dismiss this as some perverted rant by a freak somewhere…but as I said, I could walk right up to you dressed as either gender…who I am internally or who I was born bodied as…and you would never know, unless I wanted you to know…we live among you, walk among you, work with you…and likely you have wounded and insulted and hurt many others and not even known.
If you can live with that, God help you…if you can’t, God will help you to gain enlightenment and knowledge, and perhaps you could even be used in such a way as to help the stigma be put to death.
It is up to you.
Charissa Grace White…a fan and loyal listener, even still.