A message for Bo & Jim: Bullying and beating up trans children is no joking matter

Posted on 27 Oct 2011 at 11:52am

Bo, left, and Jim, morning show DJs on Lone Star 92.5 FM

I drive about 60 miles round trip in my daily commute to and from work, and I almost always have the radio on. The past couple of mornings, while flipping from station to station to find something I wanted to listen to, I have ended up on Lone Star 92.5 FM, the classic rock station, which features Bo and Jim as its morning show DJs.

On Wednesday morning, Bo and Jim started talking about Chaz Bono getting the boot from Dancing With the Stars. When they started talking, my immediate reaction was to begin bristling with indignation, because I expected to hear so-called “jokes” and crass comments about Chaz’s gender identity. But I was surprised. Instead, Bo and Jim referred to Chaz throughout as a male, using proper — male — pronouns the whole time.

The DJs did make fun of Chaz’s dancing. But considering that he was on a dancing show, his talent as a dancer — or lack thereof — was fair game.

But this morning was a different thing altogether.

This morning, Bo and Jim started talking about a 7-year-old girl, Bobby Montoya of Colorado, who was born biologically male but who identifies and, with the support of her mother, lives as a female. Bobby wanted to join Girl Scouts but was rejected because, as the Girl Scouts worker said, “he has boy parts.” Girl Scout officials higher up in the hierarchy quickly stepped in, said the first person misunderstood the policies, and that Bobby is more than welcome to join Girl Scouts. You can read the story here on Huffington Post.

Bo and Jim, in talking about the story, chose to refer to Bobby throughout as a boy and with male pronouns, which was bad enough. But what really set me off was when they said, basically, “You know this kid is going to get beat up all the time. Even the girls are going to beat him up.” They said it as a joke, an attempt to get laughs. And that is unacceptable.

If you don’t understand gender identity issues, ok. A lot of people don’t. If you have trouble with the pronouns, again ok. Even the most understanding and supportive of us slip up there sometimes.

But to make a joke out of the possibility of a child getting beaten up? Surely even the most clueless among us should understand that is a line you should never cross.

As soon as I got to work, I sent an email to both Bo and Jim, letting them know I heard what they said and that I was very upset by it. I suggested they sit down and talk to some trans people who have been victims of violence. I suggested that they attend the Transgender Day of Remembrance happening Nov. 20 at the Interfaith Peace Chapel. And I let them know I would be posting a blog on the Dallas Voice website about their comments.

Within minutes, I received this response from Jim:

“Thank you for listening this morning. Sorry you were offended, that was not our intention to upset you or any of the transgender population. We are an entertainment show not 60 minutes and in an effort to be ‘funny’ we may pushed the envelope to far. In the future, we’ll try and be more sensitive to gender related issues.
Jim White
The Bo and Jim Show”

While I appreciate Jim’s quick response, I am not satisfied with his apology. I doubt many of our readers are, either. And if you want to make your opinions known, you can contact Lone Star 92.5 by phone at 214-866-8000. Lone Star’s program director is Don Davis. Email him at dondavis@clearchannel.com or call him directly at 214-866-8610. And you can email Jim at jim@lonestar925.com, and Bo at bo@lonestar925.com.

How you choose to express yourself is up to you, of course. But I think we should remember that rather than just attack them and possibly create an enemy, perhaps we should work to educate them and create an ally. Afterall, education is key to understanding, and understanding is key to a better world for all of us.

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