Why You Shouldn’t Ask About Transgender People’s Genitals

To see what happens when journalists don’t abide by this model, endure with me for a moment Katie Couric’s tone-deaf interview on Monday of Elite model and former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Carmen Carrera and Orange Is The New Black star Laverne Cox. (Carrera announced her transgender—not to be confused with drag queen—identity in the years after the show.) Carrera and Cox, both transgender women, are enjoying a great deal of success in their respective careers, and that happy situation understood in the context of a gender identity that still faces a great deal of discrimination and violence is worthy of discussion. The acknowledgement of that struggle would seem to have little to do with Carrera or Cox’s individual bodies, however, and yet we somehow arrive at a point where Carrera needs to literally shush Couric as she stutters out the insightful and highly relevant question: “Your, your, your private parts are different now, aren’t they?”

Mey, a writer over at Autostraddle, has posted an excellent critique of the whole encounter that’s well worth your time. But the way these women handled themselves (charm and poise for days) almost makes critique unnecessary—they’ve got it under control. So here, we’ll just offer a selection of lightly annotated stills that capture the ridiculousness of the segment. This, folks, is what ignorance trolling looks like:

J. Bryan Lowder is the assistant editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section, and the editorial assistant for culture.



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