Disclaimer: This piece is an opinion piece and does not necessarily represent the views of Don Diva Magazine as a company.
If you’ve ever listened to the Breakfast Club, then you’d already be aware that they are known for their controversial commentary, but I’m sure that they never would have expected the backlash that they received from Friday’s episode in which they had Lil Duval as a guest. DJ Envy, who is one of the hosts of the Breakfast Club asked Lil Duval how would he feel if he found out that a woman he was sleeping with used to be a man. Lil Duval stated quite frankly that he, the transgender, would have to die. This caused a gigantic outrage, especially during a time where transgendered people are being targeted and killed simply because of who they are. What amplified the situation was that Janet Mock, a transgender activist, was on the show a few days ago educating the members about the transgender community.
The Internet reacted as many people, primarily of the LGBTQ condemned Lil Duval and the Breakfast Club and requested an apology. This apology never happened as the Breakfast Club did not feel responsible for what Lil Duval expressed and Lil Duval double downed on his statement. Lil Duval’s comment was brash and even criminal, but it was honest. We live in a generation where we are so politically correct that honesty frightens us. The LGBTQ community wants to shift the conversation towards tolerance. They want to focus on how these words from Lil Duval can create a negative movement towards transgenders resulting in them being targeted and attacked. In those regards I do agree. We cannot justify and make it okay to talk about killing transgenders. Lil Duval probably wouldn’t do it as he has a lot to lose, but some misguided listener would take this as a cue to do such a thing. The rhetoric was dangerous. But when the conversation gets directed toward people getting fooled and tricked by transgenders there is either a deafening silence or an opinion of entitlement that is very problematic to me.
Let me make it clear that I personally believe that people should do whatever makes them happy as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. If a man feels that he wants to become a woman, then let him become a woman. If a woman feels that she wants to become a man, then let her become a man. That process has nothing to do with me and is not my concern. Who am I to comment on your happiness or stop you from being at peace with yourself? Gays and Lesbians date other Gays and Lesbians who are consenting to the relationship. Everything is out on the table. There is nothing to hide because they are attracted to each other. But the problem that the LGBTQ community keeps dodging and conveniently misdirecting is the fact that a lot of times transgenders are infringing on the rights of other people. They try to justify it as a safety precaution. What I am alluding to is the belief that transgenders do not or should not have to disclose their birth gender because they no longer identify with that gender. This is gross negligence and creates a precarious situation for everybody. I understand the history. I get that transgenders have been attacked, abused, and even killed for simply being transgenders. I understand the desire to simply be who you are without being labeled, and not wanting to disclose who you were because of the fear of being attacked. People are prejudice, bigoted, and don’t like you or understand you because of what you chose to do to yourself to be happy. I’m a black man; I could write a book on discrimination. I sincerely empathize and I wish that more people would be open minded and simply come to terms with the fact that transgenders and members of the LGBTQ community are still people. I get it. I’m on board with it. What you do in the bedroom and who you love is your business.
However, what I am not okay with is the deception that is being passed off as a cautionary action. If you are a transgender man or woman, you should disclose to any person that you are dating that you are a transgender. Although you may look like a woman and got all of the surgery to pass as a woman, there are men out there that do not want to date you because you were born as a man. That is their prerogative and you do not have the right to take that decision away from them. Nobody ever thinks about the psychological damage that this does to a straight man that thought he was dating a woman, only to find out that she was a man. They try to call it black male fragility, because they really want us to accept the fact that this transgender is a woman, but let’s be real. Most heterosexual men would feel like they slept with a man. They would be embarrassed, humiliated, and infuriated. They call it black male fragility. I call it being lied to. What Lil Duval said was a natural reaction that most men would say in the privacy of their home. Now I am not advocating for the death of transgenders. Killing transgenders for who they are is wrong. Killing anybody is wrong. But you could reasonably expect somebody to react in the same fashion if they were dating somebody who knew they had AIDS and failed to disclose it. You’d be ready to kill them simply because you’d feel as if your life was over. This is how most straight males would feel if they found out they slept with a transgender. They would start to question their sexuality. Am I gay because I slept with a woman who is really a man? There are some readers who are going to say this is ignorant, but these are real feelings, and unless we address them, these things are going to continue to happen. To most men, you simply are not a woman to them. There’s nothing you can do to change that. And even though you think you are a woman, they want a natural woman. Give them that option to decide. I think the key here is being honest. Lil Duval did not say that he wanted to transgenders or any member of the LGBTQ community. He said that he would kill a transgender who tricked him into sleeping with him. Somebody needs to speak to Lil Duval about what he can and can’t say in public, but I do empathize with his anger in regards to being misled.
I’ve always admired the LGBTQ community for their courage and dedication to their struggle, but I’m concerned about their consistent avoidance of telling transgenders to be truthful to prospective lovers. The LGBTQ community has a strong voice, but the problem is that they have become so tunnel visioned when it comes to their plight that they don’t listen to anybody else. They don’t care what heterosexuals think. They don’t care about our concerns. They don’t care that we feel that transgenders should disclose this. In fact, they make excuses and try to justify the non-disclosure of this information. Anyone who questions their tactics is a bigot. If a man says “Hey, I don’t have anything against transgenders, but I don’t want to date one”, then he is discriminating against them according to the LGBTQ community. This cannot be a one-sided conversation. If that man knew that she was a transgender, he probably wouldn’t date her. He was attracted to what he thought was a woman. Finding out that she used to be a man might change a lot of things, but he has the right to know this information. However, there are men who will date transgenders. There’s somebody for everybody. Transgenders have the right to be happy, be loved, and live the life they want to live. They deserve to be free of shame, persecution, and abuse. But they also have a responsibility to inform people that they plan to become intimate with that they are transgenders. Both sides have to make a concession. Unless that happens, no real progress will ever be made for the transgender community. Let’s initiate this by being honest and having real dialogue.