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Transphobia on America’s Best Dance Crew?


Fans of Vogue Evolution, the only openly gay team of dancers on MTV's hit reality show competition America's Best Dance Crew, are livid at comments made on last night's show by judge Lil Mama.

Lil Mama, a fan of Vogue Evolution from early on in the competition, criticized transgender dancer Leiomy Maldonado's attitude by telling her to remember that she was "born a man, and you are becoming a woman." The criticism was in reference to a clip of the crew rehearsing in which Leiomy complained and threw a temper tantrum in front of her teammates.

"Leiomy, your behavior... come on. It's unacceptable," Lil Mama said while judging the group's performance. "You always have to remember your truth. You were born a man, and you are becoming a woman. If you're going to become a woman, act like a lady. Don't be a bird, like 'Oh my god, I'm not doing this!' You know what I'm saying? It gets too crazy and it gets confusing. You're doing this for America. Even though you're the face for transgenders, you're the face of America right now with this group and it's not about anybody else. It's about y'all. You know what I'm saying? So do it for the team. Do it for the team."

In earlier performances, Lil Mama has openly expressed her support of Vogue Evolution and, specifically, Leiomy. After the group performed a routine to the Beyonce song "Deja Vu," she said, "It took a transgender woman to bring out the femininity of Sasha Fierce."

Los Angeles-based trans activist Ashley Love posted a clip of the incident on Facebook, saying it is "so sad that Lil Mama degraded trans people last night." In an open letter to Maldonado posted on her Facebook page, Love writes, "your relationship with your dance crew, and whether or not you wanted to continue on the show, has absolutely nothing to do with your womanhood."

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) said on its blog that it has received a number of complaints about the incident and has reached out to MTV for comment.

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