Even if you haven’t caught an episode of TLC’s reality show "Cake Boss", you can probably guess that it’s fraught with cheesy jokes, headache-inducing drama, and dying brain cells. But on Monday night’s episode, the gimmicks went way too far.
Featuring "RuPaul’s Drag Race" contestant Carmen Carrera as a guest star, the transgender woman was tasked with flirting with Cousin Anthony Bellifemine, who was unaware of her gender identity.
Then, Buddy Valastro aka The Cake Boss tactfully outs Carrera by exclaiming "that’s a man, baby!" This is enough to make any decent person’s blood boil, but it gets worse.
After Bellifemine dashes out of the bar, he refers to the transgender woman as an “it” on Twitter. Because that’s how classy people want to be remembered by the masses.
Here’s a screenshot of his hateful tweet, because our dear "cousin" should know that when you write something on the Internet, it doesn’t just go away when you hit the Delete button. And screenshots…screenshots are forever, baby!
Understandably, Carrera was extremely upset about the stint, taking to Facebook to voice her complaints. She wrote:
"Before I agreed to do this show, I was assured and then reassured that it wasn't going to be like the JERRY SPRINGER show or MAURY. Let me make this clear. CALLING A TRANSGENDER WOMAN A MAN IS WRONG. Period. It's degrading, its rude, and its very hurtful."
Agreed. It seems that the stars of "Cake Boss" need a crash course on how painfully hard it still is to be transgender. Last year, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force released a groundbreaking survey on transgender life, which I strongly suggest the stars of "Cake Boss" delve into. The researchers surveyed exactly 6,450 transgender and gender non-conforming people in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Let’s take a peek at how those who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming fare. According to the study:
- About 57 percent of respondents “experienced significant family rejection.” So much for the ties that bind.
- In this economy, finding a job is tough. But if you’re transgender or gender non-conforming, it can be twice as difficult. Respondents reported double the unemployment rate compared to the general population. But for transgender people of color, this troubling statistic gets worse: their unemployment rates stand at up to four times the national average.
- And when transgender and gender non-conforming people do manage to find work, they are sorely ill-treated. Almost every single one (90 percent, to be exact) has reported mistreatment or kept their identity a secret in the office out of fear.
- When looking for a home or apartment, 19 percent have been denied due to gender identity. While seeking homeless shelter services, 55 percent were harassed by and 22 percent were sexually assaulted.
So, now that we’ve established that life can be exceedingly difficult for those who happen to be transgender, it’s time for those in the public eye (I’m looking at you, Buddy) to put transphobia to rest.
Though Valastro’s recent Facebook apology is a step in the right direction, I think I’ll pass on another slice of what they’re serving.
(Images via The Post-Standard and LiveJournal)