More fail in the NY Times profile of Chaz Bono: Sexism, no matter who says it

Chaz BonoAs Vanessa wrote yesterday, author Cintra Wilson (who has a history of fail) comes off pretty terribly in her New York Times profile of Chaz Bono. You know who else ends up looking bad? Chaz Bono.

Given Wilson’s self centered, transphobic (yes, even though she has trans friends!) article, I’m willing to give Bono the benefit of the doubt. He could be quoted pretty out of context, without qualifying statements that add nuance, Wilson certainly could have pushed for this sort of quote, and in a short profile it’s all on her that this is what gets attention. Bono deserves a lot of credit for speaking so bravely and publicly about his experience. Having said all that, this is just sexist:

“I never really understood women before, to be honest, but I had a tolerance for women that I don’t have now.”

I laughed. Chaz blushed.

“No, really. There is something in testosterone that makes talking and gossiping really grating. I’ve stopped talking as much. I’ve noticed that Jen can talk endlessly.” He shrugged. “I just kind of zone out.”

“You just don’t care!”

“I just don’t care!” He laughed. “I’ve learned that the differences between men and women are so biological. I think if people realized that, it would be easier. I would be a great relationship counselor. I know the difference that hormones really make.”


I don’t care how new testosterone is to your body, it’s no excuse to talk about women in such a condescending way.

Sadly, this sort of narrative of the trans man who becomes sexist has happened in the media before, including a lousy episode of This American Life about testosterone. And it’s a shame. I’ve watched plenty of my trans guy friends go through transition super conscious about the shifts happening in their bodies, knowing they’d have to be even more deliberate about their feminism as men in the world who also might be experiencing changes like increased sexual desire, which the article goes on to talk about. I want that to be the gender role model. Not this crap of using trans guys to reify gender essentialism and sexism.

I don’t care how much of your brain is in your crotch. It’s no excuse to be a dick.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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