As rumors continue to swirl about an alleged affair between rapper Tyga and transgender model and porn actress Mia Isabella, Janet Mock chimed in on her MSNBC Shift show So POPular! Friday — with her usual social justice-minded savvy.
"This story hit the Internet with the intent to shame Tyga," Mock pointed out. "There's the nude piece, the affair piece, and, of course, the being caught with a trans woman piece."
Before illuminating the shame and "stigma" she says is "attached to dating trans women," Mock recapped the details of the "scandal" revealed Monday by trans entertainment blogger B. Scott: Tyga, 25, has allegedly been having a three-year affair with Isabella, as reflected by sexual text messages, including a picture of the rapper's penis, reportedly sent from his phone.
While Tyga has denied the affair and continues to date Kylie Jenner, the 17-year-old daughter of trans former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, his lawyer Lee Hutton confirmed to TMZ that the pictures were authentic. Hutton claimed, however, that rather than being sent by Tyga himself the messages were sent by others conspiring to "maliciously shame" the rapper.
But Tyga's shame is not what Mock — and, by virtue of watching, her viewers — should be most concerned about, she says. Explaining that the "millions" of men who desire trans women in secret should have conversations amongst themselves and in their communities, she asserts that instead she's "invested in what this public shaming does to the women who are kept in the dark, made to feel they are unworthy of love and acknowledgement, who are made to feel as if they are only deserving of ridicule and violence."
It's a topic she's articulately tackled before in one of her website's most popular essays, "How Society Shames Men Dating Trans Men & How This Affects Our Lives," and which was also recently addressed by trans actress Laverne Cox. Cox made headlines last month for speculating to out radio host Michelangelo Signorile that, "Most men who are attracted to and date transgender women are probably stigmatized more than trans women are."
Both women's statements seemed to concur that, as Mock put it, "People's bodies, their attractions and sexualities, should not be policed or shamed. There are many kinds of women, as there are many kinds of men. And there's nothing shameful, laughable, or headline-worthy about that."
Isabella, notably, also addressed the topic today in her first statement since the text messages came to light, telling E! News:
"It's very sad that the idea of a man loving a trans person has to be considered a scandal when all people are equal. ... Am I not an American with the right to love and live as I choose with whoever I choose? If a celebrated man loves a transgender woman or possibly did — that's news? It shouldn't be news, it should be normal for anyone and everyone to be allowed to love who they choose."
Hear more on the story on the latest episode of Mock's So POPular! below.