Comedian Michael Che has come under fire for allegedly making another “transphobic” joke on SNL’s “Weekend Update.”
Last weekend, Che, who was previously criticized for a joke about Caitlyn Jenner, joked about President Joe Biden’s reversal of President Trump’s transgender military ban, calling it “don’t ask, don’t tuck.”
“President Biden signed an executive order repealing Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. It’s good news, except Biden is calling the policy, ‘Don’t ask, don’t tuck,’ which is not good news,” he quipped.
The joke was a reference to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy from the Clinton-era, which barred gay individuals from openly serving in the U.S. military. LGBTQ advocates immediately denounced Che’s joke on social media.
“What is Saturday Night Live’s weird obsession with transphobic nonsense? I honestly don’t get it. It’s so lazy and sad. Last night, Michael Che joked about the repeal of the trans ban being called ‘don’t ask, don’t tuck’ — who is this ‘joke’ for?” said transgender activist Charlotte Clymer. “For all the scaremongering over trans people, it never ceases to be incredibly creepy the way some cis people are obsessed with our bodies. It’s gross and weird and creepy.”
For all the scaremongering over trans people, it never ceases to be incredibly creepy the way some cis people are obsessed with our bodies. It's gross and weird and creepy.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) January 31, 2021
Speaking with NBC News, Natalie Drew, a former Army infantry sergeant who is transgender, said that such jokes need to be “challenged” for fear of hurting transgender people.
“When you start letting these small things take place without being challenged, it eventually snowballs,” Drew said. “It’s like ‘locker room talk,’ it’s ‘boys being boys,’ but when that goes unabated, eventually you run into a situation where they keep pushing the envelope.”
Drew said the joke was an example of how there needs to be more transgender representation in the “Saturday Night Live” writer’s room.
“I’m confident if there were any trans person that joke had to run by, they would have been like ‘No, we can’t do that!’” said Drew.
However, transgender comedian Flame Monroe lamented the potential censorship of comedians.
“What Michael Che said has no validity because who cares about that? I don’t want comedians to be censored, so I’m not going to bash him about that,” said Monroe. “As a comedian, I want to be able to say what I want to say, especially when it’s part of what is happening right now.”
Michael Che was deemed a “transphobe” by the LGBTQ community in 2019 when he made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner by likening rapper Kanye West’s Trump support to “an old white lady” and suggested West might be transforming into one.
“He’s showing up to events in sweatpants and orthopedic sneakers, listening to Kenny G and trying to get black people to like Trump. It’s like, how long before this guy changes his name to Kathy?” Che said.
Che then referred to Caitlyn Jenner as a “fella” alongside his original name, Bruce.
“Now, you might think that I’m crazy, but about five years ago, there was a fella named Bruce Jenner, and he moved to Calabasas,” said Che.
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