Dave Chappelle sparks a conversation about transphobia as he addresses his past comments about the trans community in his latest Netflix comedy special.
“The Closer,” the sixth installment of the comedian’s Netflix deal he describes as “his last special for a minute,” includes tongue-in-cheek jokes about race, the coronavirus pandemic, and negotiating “DaBaby’s exit. “after the rapper. homophobic comments. However, Chappelle’s comments on the transgender community, a topic he has already received negative reactions to, are attracting more comment.
Chappelle doubled down on the transphobic jokes by weighing in on author JK Rowling’s comments made in December 2019. The author of “Harry Potter” confused sex and gender and defended ideas suggesting that changing his biological sex was a threat to their own gender identity.
âThey canceled JK Rowling, my God,â Chappelle says. “She actually said gender is a fact, the trans community got pissed off because (expletive) they started calling her TERF.
“I’m the TERF team. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact,” he added.
While the traditional binary definition of gender applies to those who are born male or female at birth, many identify as “non-binary” and do not see themselves solely as male or female.
Chappelle says he’s “never had a problem with transgender people,” but experts say TERF use is problematic for the trans community.
What is a TERF?
TERF is an acronym for radical feminists of trans exclusion. The term describes transphobic feminists.
In her special, Chappelle gave the right definition but added, “They look at trans women like we black people might look at Blackface.”
TERF’s views âdeny the validity of transgender people and transgender identities,â said Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign.
Following: What is a TERF and why is “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling called one?
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McBride noted that these views are not only rejected by most feminists in the United States and LGTBQ rights advocates. TERF ideology can reinforce prejudices that lead to other forms of discrimination that many transgender men and women may experience, such as in housing or employment. Discrimination can also manifest itself in physical violence, which disproportionately affects the trans community, especially transgender women of color.
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What do social networks say?
Chapelle has often followed the line of being an adversary and harming marginalized communities. During his set, the comedian spoke out against transphobic laws while disseminating harmful opinions.
âI’m very invested in building the genre, personally, because I’m a man with kids,â Chappelle said. “It doesn’t mean that I feel like another point of view can’t exist.”
Some on social media have hailed Chappelle’s return to Netflix, but others have dismissed the comedian’s jokes, which they say were made to the detriment of others.
“Dave Chappelle pretending he’s a terf kind of messed up my day” a Twitter user wrote.
“Oh the T community is gonna be crazy once they see this Dave Chappelle stand up lol,” a user wrote.
âThe Closer is possibly the best work I’ve seen from Dave Chappelle. Incredible, eloquent and as always goes well for the jugâ another user said.
Another user tweeted: “Dave Chappelle is the best at using non-sequiturs to subtly project his fanaticism.”
According to a study published in LGBTQ Health, negative media portrayal of the transgender community is “significantly associated” with “symptoms of depression” within the trans community.
Backlash against Chappelle’s trans jokes
Chappelle has already come under scrutiny for her comment against the trans community in the past. During his 2019 comedy special “Sticks & Stones,” he lamented that society is increasingly politically correct while sarcastically saying how difficult it must be for transgender people.
âThey are so confusing,â Chappelle said. “This idea that a person can be born in the wrong body – they have to admit it’s a hilarious (expletive) situation.”
At the end of his âCloserâ special, he said he would no longer joke about the LGBTQ community but with a damaging stipulation regarding Da Baby being âcanceledâ for his homophobic comments and Kevin Hart leaving the Oscars after refusing apologize for the previous homophobic comments.
âI don’t tell another joke on you until we’re both sure we’re laughing together,â the comedian said. “Anything I ask of your community – in all humility – please stop hitting my people?” “
Contributors: Patrick Ryan, Hannah Yasharoff, Ryan W. Miller and Alia Dastagir
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dave Chappelle is “the TERF Team,” JK Rowling defends in Netflix special