Openly gay actor John Barrowman pulled off a transphobic stunt yesterday while addressing the casting of Jodie Whittaker in as the 13th Time Lord in the BBC series, Doctor Who.
Here’s a tweet that displays what Barrowman did:
— Mia Marie Macy (@MiaMarieMacy) July 21, 2017
According to Radio Times, Barrowman says that what he did “is to celebrate all the changes that are happening and being hated on Doctor Who right now.”
Barrowman pulled this stunt while trying to show his support for Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor given all the sexist outrage. But in referring to himself as “the transgender tardis,” he was being blatantly transphobic on his part. I didn’t even know of his history of Barrowman’s use of trans slurs and being unapologetic about it until I was researching for this article.
I’m a transgender woman. There are some in the gay community out there that say that they aren’t transphobic but when gay cis men wear dresses and say something along the lines of being transgender, it only re-enforces the stereotype that transgender women are just men in dresses. Despite what Texas conservative politicians may tell you, we aren’t men–we’re women. This leads to an increase in transgender people getting killed by cisgender people. From someone of Barrowman’s stature, I would have expected better.
This isn’t the first time that Barrowman has gotten himself in trouble with the transgender community.
He got in trouble for using a trans slur in a video in 2014 and defended the use of the term, calling the people who complained as “haters” (Editor’s note: I didn’t come out to myself until November 2015). A fan found it in June 2015 and Barrowman was called out for it. He could have used it as a learning moment but instead chose not to apologize. See this link for more.
Just because somebody is gay does not mean that they get a free pass for throwing the transgender community under the bus. Even though Barrowman did call for a transgender companion to Whittaker’s Doctor, he does not get a free pass for his transphobic stunt.
SATURDAY NIGHT UPDATE:
I have been viciously abused online because of this article and related tweets. I’m not engaging with anyone who can’t respect my identity and would rather intentionally misgender me (which is transphobic violence). If you are cisgender, you don’t get the right to decide what is or isn’t transphobic. Being in the LGBTQIA+ community doesn’t get you a free pass for transphobic comments or actions either.
Maybe the use of throwing us under the bus wasn’t the right phrase that I should have used but his actions were wrong. His stunt does absolutely nothing for transgender rights when so many bathroom bills are being filed because transphobes view trans women as being men in dresses.