‘Saturday Night Live’ Under Fire for Skit Slammed as ‘Transphobic’

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NBC

A recent Saturday Night Live skit was slammed as “transphobic” over a joke about President Joe Biden’s reversal of the transgender military ban.

“President Biden signed an executive order repealing Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. It’s good news, except Biden is calling the policy, ‘Don’t ask, don’t tuck,’ which is not good news,” joked SNL cast member Michael Che.

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The joke — which drew backlash from offended transgender advocates — had been a reference to the now-obsolete, Bill Clinton-era “Don’t ask, don’t tell” U.S. military policy, which barred gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces from 1993 to 2010.

“What is Saturday Night Live’s weird obsession with transphobic nonsense? I honestly don’t get it,” lamented LBGTQ rights advocate Charlotte Clymer. “It’s so lazy and sad. Last night, Michael Che joked about the repeal of the trans ban being called ‘don’t ask, don’t tuck’ — who is this ‘joke’ for? For all the scaremongering over trans people, it never ceases to be incredibly creepy the way some cis people are obsessed with our bodies. It’s gross and weird and creepy.”

“This is gross,” commented another Twitter user. “When can trans people just exist without their genitalia being the topic/joke ugh. THIS IS NOT FUNNY!!!!!”

“I really hope @nbcsnl, Michael Che, and Colin Jost do better. Targeting Trans folks, especially after a great week of news, isn’t okay,” complained a third user on Twitter.

“The cis het bro energy has me on guard every episode. I miss the power femme energy of Tina & Amy who told jokes w/o resorting to tired tropes,” the Twitter user added.

Former Army infantry sergeant Natalie Drew — who is transgender — claimed that there is an obligation to speak out against jokes that hurt people belonging to a group that left-wing activists consider downtrodden or “marginalized” in America.

“When you start letting these small things take place without being challenged, it eventually snowballs,” Drew told NBC News. “It’s like ‘locker room talk,’ it’s ‘boys being boys,’ but when that goes unabated, eventually you run into a situation where they keep pushing the envelope.”

Drew went on to suggest that such jokes wouldn’t be told on SNL if only there had been transgender representation in the writers’ room. “I’m confident if there were any trans person that joke had to run by, they would have been like ‘No, we can’t do that!'”

Not all transgender individuals, however, agree with Drew’s assessment.

“What Michael Che said has no validity because who cares about that?” said Flame Monroe, who is also transgender. “I don’t want comedians to be censored, so I’m not going to bash him about that. As a comedian, I want to be able to say what I want to say, especially when it’s part of what is happening right now.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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