Dave Chappelle is widely considered to be a comedic genius. So when Netflix announced it had released two Chappelle stand-up specials, people freaked. A little comedy to wrap up this bitter year has to be a good thing, right?
Well, maybe. But maybe not. The specials just dropped, but there’s already some pushback when it comes to Chappelle’s thoughts on the transgender community.
Of the two videos, “The Bird Revelation” and “Equanimity,” it’s the latter that is once again bringing Chappelle’s controversial views into the spotlight. In it, he reflects on past jokes of his that critics have called transphobic.
“You know who hates me the most? The transgender community,” he says to a laughing audience. “I didn’t realize how bad it was. These motherfuckers are really mad about that last Netflix special. It’s tough man, I don’t know what to do about it ’cause I like them. I always have. Never had a problem with them. Ya know, just fucking around. And a matter of fact I think I make fun of everybody, and I mean as a group of people they have to admit… it’s kind of fucking hilarious man. I’m sorry bro.”
He continues on to say that being born trans is funny if it’s not happening to you.
Not everyone was amused.
He then compares trans people to Rachel Dolezal, the white women who claimed to be black. “That is trans talk, lady,” Chappelle says, before hastily adding that unlike Dolezal he “believes” trans people because they sometimes get sex reassignment surgery — though he phrases it much differently.
The Human Rights Campaign, a LGBTQ civil rights organization, says that “fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color” and that in 2017 at least 28 transgender individuals have been “fatally shot or killed by other violent means.”
For many, the reality of life as a trans person is definitely not funny — even if it’s not happening to you.