Patton Oswalt has made it clear that he supports trans rights after fans called him out for performing with Dave Chappelle in a New Year’s Eve standup performance.
According to Deadline, Chappelle invited Oswalt, his friend, to perform with him after he learned they were both working in Seattle. Oswalt originally posted about the performance on social media, but he later made a post clarifying his stance on trans issues in light of Chappelle’s controversial comments about transgender people, particularly trans women, in his latest Netflix special, The Closer.
“Thirty four YEARS we’ve been friends. He’s [Chappelle] refocused and refined ideas a lot of us took and settled about race & history & Life On Planet Earth and spun them around with a phrase or punchine,” wrote Oswalt. “We’ve done bad & good gigs, open mikes & TV tapings. But we also 100% disagree about transgender rights & representation.”
"I support trans peoples' rights--ANYONE'S rights--to live safely in the world as their fullest selves," he continued.
“For all the things he’s helped ME evolve on, I’ll always disagree with where he stands NO on transgender issues. But I also don’t believe a seeker like him is done evolving, learning. You know someone that long, see the struggles and changes, it’s impossible to cut them off. Impossible not to be hopeful and open and cheer them on.” He also expressed guilt for cutting off friends he’s fundamentally disagreed with, writing, “Sometimes I wonder–did I and others cutting them off make them dig their heels in deeper, fuel their ignorance with a nitro-boost of resentment and spite?”
“And I’m sorry, truly sorry, that I didn’t consider the hurt this would cause. Or the DEPTH of that hurt,” he wrote. “I’ve been messaging a lot on IG today, and the back and forth has really helped guide me in the writing of this. I (naively) deleted a lot of posts in the comment thread–critical ones from LGBTQ writers AND [s–t]-posts by TERF/anti-trans orcs looking for clicks & giggles. I wanted a ‘nice comment thread’ about the pic with my friend. Ugh. So easy to think someone ELSE needs growth and miss the need in yourself. Gonna keep trying.”
His IG post got a lot of engagement:
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Chappelle's 2021 special met the ire of trans people and allies when he declared himself "Team TERF" in support of writers J.K. Rowling, who has come out against trans women, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
“Gender is a fact,” he said in his special. “Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact.”
In actuality, one-third of births in the U.S. occur through C-section, according to Deadline, serving as one of several points against Chappelle’s arguments against trans women.
Chappelle also called trans women’s genitalia “not quite what it is” and brought up DaBaby’s homophobic statements about HIV, AIDS, and gay people.
“In our country, you can shoot and kill a [N-word] but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings,” he said, referencing how DaBaby was involved in a 2018 incident resulting in the death of a Black man.
GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition came out against Chappelle's special
The coalition’s executive director David Johns calling the special “deeply disappointing” and full of “lazy and hostile transphobia and homophobia.”
“With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States–the majority of whom are Black transgender people–Netflix should know better. Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence. Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community. Make not mistake: Black LGBTQ+ and same gender people exist–and have always existed. The fight against oppression is not a zero sum game, and the pervasiveness of white supremacy in the United States is not an excuse for homophobia or transphobia.”