A recent post by Brian McNaught describes David Letterman’s now-infamous skit about Amanda Simpson, who Obama recently appointed to be Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department. McNaught summarizes the skit:
On the program in question, announcer Alan Kalter ran from the stage in horror when Letterman announced that Simpson was born male. The humor was supposed to come from Kalter realizing that he had been intimate with a woman without knowing that he had been with someone born male.
Jokes like this one are old staples of sexual comedy, and they probably remain the most common examples of transphobic humor. The audience is expected to laugh at the pathetic man who has discovered that the gender identity of his sexual partner, and by extension his own heterosexuality and masculinity, have been challenged. (more…)