I'm someone who enjoys celebrity gossip in general, but it's always more exciting when there is a story a little more interesting than what the Kardashians are doing this week. This is definitely one of those stories. Stephen Ira Beatty, the transgendered son of Annette Bening and Warren Beatty, posted a blog entry calling out Chaz Bono, the transgendered son of Cher and Sonny Bono, for not representing the transgender community in an appropriate way. See, I told you this was going to be better than your average pop culture soundbite.
Stephen hasn't been thrilled with some of Chaz's widely publicized comments on being a transgendered male, claiming he has said some very misogynistic and sexist things. He took particular issue with a comment Chaz made that seemed to promote the stereotype that women talk a lot and love to gossip, while men don't:
“I never really understood women before, to be honest, but I had a tolerance for women that I don’t have now... No, really. There is something in testosterone that makes talking and gossiping really grating. I’ve stopped talking as much. I’ve noticed that Jen [his partner] can talk endlessly. I just kind of zone out.”
"I was floored by reading this," Stephen wrote. "Can the guy really lack self-awareness to this degree? Does he really not realize that this is a variation on saying, 'Women should shut up and let the men do the important things men do'?" Stephen, who has also taken testosterone to help his transition, says his experience has been entirely different than what Chaz is claiming:
I can speak to what the experience of being on testosterone is like. I still gossip just as much as I used to. I still love to listen to my female friends and I love to gossip with them. I don’t think they’re “grating.” And I don’t want any rich white straight trans guy going out there into the world and telling the media that testosterone made him into a misogynist. If this is how he feels about women, I can tell you as a trans man who takes T, it is not because of T. It is because he has some deep seated misogyny to work through.
This is just one example of Stephen's anger toward Chaz. If you're up for a good read, be sure to check out his full blog post, which highlights a few more questionable things Chaz has come out with during his neverending press tour for Dancing With The Stars and his new reality show, Being Chaz. I also want to point out a second, more lighthearted post Stephen made after this story blew up in the press. He says, "I would be more than happy to sit down with Chaz, have a drink, and talk with him about how he can think and talk about gender in a way that’s more inclusive. He seems like an all right guy, his questionable views aside." Stephen added, "And from what I’ve seen, he’s really remarkably good at the cha cha."
I can understand Stephen being frustrated with Chaz if he feels that Chaz is not representing the trans community accurately, and I'm glad he stood up and said something. I have to say, though, I think that it's impossible for one person to represent an entire group in any situation. There are always going to be people within the group who feel differently about certain things or like they're being misrepresented. I have watched and read many interviews with Chaz, in addition to the documentary Becoming Chaz that aired on OWN, which is why I feel I can be sure he was not trying to offend anyone or generalize by telling his story. I also don't think he ever claimed to represent everyone in the trans community, and I just hope that people can keep an open mind and see that there are all different kinds of transgendered individuals, many of them very dissimilar from Chaz. For me, the bottom line is that his overall message seems to be one of love and acceptance, and I think all trans people would probably agree that that's a positive thing.