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Chaz Bono and Stephen Ira: a trans catfight

Chaz Bono has been called the world’s most well-known transgender person. Sonny and Cher’s beloved daughter-turned-son danced his way into the hearts of millions on Dancing with the Stars. But Stephen Ira, the transgender son of Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, isn’t a fan. Nineteen-year-old Stephen, born Kathlyn, wrote on his blog, Super Mattachine, that he is a “a gay trans man for whom both identities are equally important, a white anti-racist, a feminist and a poet."

Stephen recently blogged, “[Chaz] has appointed himself as the representative of a group of people who are not all like him. He has said misogynistic things about gender. I take particular issue with his comments on trans embodiment and women."

He then brought up the time Chaz told The New York Times that being transgender was the equivalent of having a “mismatched body/brain” or a “birth defect like a cleft palate."

Stephen wrote, “I do not feel that I have a birth defect, if you feel like you have a birth defect, fine, that’s how you feel. Go feel that. Do not put it onto me. Do not define me that way, and do not define other trans people that way unless they claim that label. It’s beyond that, though. Chaz is a misogynist. He is a trans man who seems to believe that his female-assignedness and his female socialization makes him immune from being a misogynist, and he is manifestly wrong. This man doesn’t represent our community. The next time you hear Chaz’s name brought up in a conversation about trans issues, point out the things he’s said about surgery, ‘birth defects’ and women. Because I don’t want a single person thinking this guy is the best of us."

Stephen certainly has a right to express himself and is entitled to his feelings, but I don’t recall ever having heard Chaz say anything remotely misogynistic, or heard him claim that he is the representative for the trans community. He just happens to be a very famous representative. In all the interviews I’ve read and watched with Chaz, I’ve only ever felt that he was doing his best to explain himself and how he feels. It’s interesting that Stephen is marking his individuality and dissenting from notions that most people possess about trans issues. The truth is, the world doesn’t know enough, but each perspective helps broaden our understanding.

Play nice girls boys!


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