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The Ignorance of Dave Chappelle and Netflix

TW: transphobia, homophobia

Comedian Dave Chappelle is no stranger to controversy. His newest controversy is over his latest comedy special, The Closer. In the Netflix-produced special, Chappelle states his TERF alignment and other anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments. 

Among many offensive jokes he delivers, he spreads extreme misinformation, “I am a feminist. … I’m team TERF. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.” 

For those who don’t know, a TERF is a trans-exclusionary radical feminist. People who identify as TERFs justify their transphobia as radical feminism that’s based on the belief that gender identity and biological sex are the same. It should be noted that although TERFs are inherently transphobic, not all transphobic people are TERFs.

Chappelle also touches on his view of current discrimination-based violence in the United States by pitting the Black community against the LGBTQ+ community, “In our country, you can shoot and kill a ******, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings.” It’s not hard to see that Chappelle is reflecting a concept that Black violence is ignored while there is no violence against gay and trans people.

The HRC reports that “4 in 5 of all anti-transgender homicides” are women of color. Trans women of color are disproportionately affected by transgender hate crimes. Chappelle either doesn’t care about this statistic or doesn’t know.

Critics of the special are calling for Netflix to remove it from the platform. And employees are staging a walkout for Wednesday, Oct 20th. However, Netflix seems unbothered by the backlash and will keep the show on the site. Ted Sarandos, co-CEO, said, “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm,” more misinformation to continue on with the theme of the controversy. 

TERF ideology and transphobia are extremely harmful, and trans people are facing brutalities in the “real world”. At the same time, Anti-Black racially-based violence is also a “real world” problem. Unlike Chappelle’s belief, both forms of violence and discrimination are happening simultaneously and to the same people at once.

Below are some resources if you or a loved one is in need of support or if you want to get involved. 

The Trevor Project

Trans Lifeline

Black Trans Advocacy Coalition

Trans Women of Color Collective

Black Lives Matter

The Marsha P Johnson Institute  

Meredith (they/she) is a sophomore at Pace, majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing. They enjoy reading, ramen, and my chemical romance.
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