Did you hear how American Idol wanted to “include” transgender contestants? Or how Jose Canseco planned to “understand” Caitlyn Jenner?
Kat Blaque’s got the scoop on how these examples show what fake allyship looks like. You’ve probably come across fake allies – know anyone who has a rainbow flag on their profile picture, but doesn’t actually show up to give LGBTQIA+ folks actual support?
Sometimes it might feel like you have to settle for any support you can get. But here’s a helpful reminder that you deserve better.
The Editors at Everyday Feminism
Click for the Transcript
The general response to my Internal Biases video was, “Look, I’m cis, and I’m white, and I’m tired of supporting minorities and being told that I’m a jerk. It’s like you people will just never be happy. You know what? You’re on your own. You people just never stop complaining.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the fake ally.
When you wake up and realize that supremacy informs almost every aspect of our culture, you almost can’t enjoy anything. It’s easier for you to just opt out of these conversations completely than it is for you to challenge the status quo. These people are not prepared to put the introspective work into a cause because all their lives, they’ve been told that their words are enough.
How many people do you know have that rainbow profile pictures? How many of those people have you seen say some really foul things about trans people, people of color, or any other minority group? Changing your profile picture into a rainbow is easy. It’s literally a few clicks away. Everyone can look at your profile and say, “Wow. Kendra Equality All-Lives-Matter Smith is so progressive.” Putting your money where your mouth is – that takes a little bit more of a commitment.
But allyship for so many people is as superficial as their rainbow profile picture. Jose Canseco is planning on spending a week as a woman, so he can understand the struggles of Caitlyn Jenner.
He told the New York Daily, “In the very beginning, I didn’t understand it, so I was like, against it. Once I watched it more and more, and realized what it really entailed, what he was going through, I started supporting him.” Wow, Jose, you are so brave. You are such a trail blazer.
Clearly, the best way to understand a trans person is to crossdress for a week. Listening to them, and taking their word for it, just isn’t enough. You have to live it to truly empathize with it. Not only do you have to do that, but you have to do it for your sleazy reality TV show called Spend a Day with Jose. That’s totally not at all about re-centering your ego.
We have seen this so many times. A person claiming to be an ally, who thinks that the best way to be an ally is to put on a costume and pretend to be the oppressed so that they can truly understand their struggles. It’s just a coincidence that there’s cameras, and that this is all monetized, and that the money is going to them and not the people that they’re claiming to support.
Imagine how powerful it would be if Jose Canseco, a man who consistently misgenders trans people, came out and stood in solidarity with trans people, and decided to fund someone’s transition. Imagine if he did it all in silence, without expecting any sort of recognition. These people can’t be silent. They have to let everybody know that they’re totally cool with the gays, with the transgenders, or whatever.
With the Caitlyn Jenner Effect that’s happening right now in the media, I want all of my trans siblings to understand that there are going to be a lot of fake allies, that are going to try to use you to boast themselves up. I’ll tell you right now that I’ve been approached by several different television opportunities, and I’ve turned them all down, because honestly, I don’t want to be part of the exploitation of trans stories for cis consumption.
Ryan Cassata is an amazing musician who happens to be a trans guy. Not too long ago, he was approached by the casting director of American Idol, and he was given a list of archetypes that they were interested in having on the show. They told him that they were looking for someone that was transgender, but they didn’t want someone that people would make fun of. They also told him that they didn’t want anyone who looked too much like a man, who transitioned into a woman, or was too gimmicky or too fake.
They said that they didn’t want a trans person who stuck out like a sore thumb. A trans person who was commercial, that they could package and sell to America. They also told him that they were looking for sexual blonde girls who were dumb, and black girls who were dramatic.
If you didn’t already know, American Idol is fake as hell. This time last year, Ryan Cassata auditioned and was denied. They didn’t want him back then, but now that it’s a hot topic, they’re ready to capitalize.
Without Ryan coming forward, we would have praised American Idol for having its first trans contestant, and we would have applauded them for being so progressive and inclusive. Little would we know that they were actively turning away trans people who didn’t fit their idea of what a trans person is supposed to look like.
This is why I believe that it’s so important that we don’t prematurely celebrate people who call themselves allies. When gay marriage was legalized, we saw so many corporations changing their packaging and their graphics to rainbows and offering big support of the LGBT community.
How many of them actually have inclusive hiring policies? How many of them actually donate to LGBT causes? How many of them are actually on our side, and not just trying to sell some burgers at Gay Pride?
We have to start holding our allies accountable. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from discourse around my previous video, it’s that real allies will expect that.
A shitty ally will weaponize their support when they’re criticized.
They’ll say, “How can I be transphobic when I have trans friends?” Be aware that some people only pay lip service to your cause, to make themselves look better. That’s not the kind of person that you want on your side.
We are so used to accepting scraps, and so used to accepting any bone that’s thrown at us. We can’t continue to settle for less. We cannot let people who claim to support us, continue to hurt us in our own spaces. Hold your allies accountable. If they really care, they won’t mind.
Anyway, guys, thank you so much for watching this video. If you like this video, don’t forget to like, share, comment, and subscribe.
I am currently trying to raise some funds to get some better equipment. I’ve gotten a lot of complaints about the audio quality and the video quality. I’d like to make some better videos for you guys. If you like my videos, and you want to see the quality improve, go on over and check out my Patreon. A dollar goes a really, really long way. If you can’t do that, please just continue to share my stuff.
I just recently passed 31,000 subscribers. Thank you, everybody who has been there with me since day one, that has seen how much I’ve changed. I hope you guys will stick around and see this channel get better, and the content get better, and the message get spread everywhere.
On that note, always remember and never forget that you are beautiful and you are loved. Bye.
To learn more about this topic, check out:
- 5 Reasons I Refuse to Call Myself An ‘Ally’ – And Why I Use ‘Turncoat’ Instead
- So You Call Yourself an Ally: 10 Things All ‘Allies’ Need to Know
Kat Blaque is a Contributing Vlogger for Everyday Feminism. She’s also a children’s illustrator and thrift store shopper. Check out Kat’s website and YouTube channel, and follow Kat on Twitter @. Watch her videos here!