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Dave Chappelle Tells Transphobic Jokes But Says Trans People Deserve Respect

Dave Chappelle

It’s been less than a week since comedian Lil Duval said on the radio show The Breakfast Club that if he ever discovered he’d had sex with a trans woman he would have to kill her, yet seasoned performer Dave Chappelle’s stand-up show at New York's Radio City Music Hall Monday was littered with transphobic jokes even as he argued that trans people should be treated with dignity. 

Chappelle kicked off the anti-trans set by saying he was “shocked” by Donald Trump banning transgender people from serving in the military. “Sounds like a secret weapon to me,” Chappelle said, according to Jesse David Fox’s review of the show on Vulture. “If I was in ISIS in the trenches fighting against the United States and all of the sudden I see a man with a beard and big D-cups titties just rushing my foxhole and shit, I’d be horrified.” 

But Chappelle’s unfunny, ugly remarks about trans people didn’t end there. He pointed out that he’s offended people before with anti-trans remarks, admitting that he'd received a letter from a fan that made him “feel bad” for making someone else “feel bad.” And then he doubled-down by reiterating the joke he believed was hurtful, saying, “It was this joke I’m about to tell you." Then, knowing the joke was in poor taste, he told it anyway. 

“‘I read in the paper that Caitlyn Jenner was contemplating posing nude in an upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated,” Chappelle said. "And I knew it was politically incorrect to say, so I figured I’d just say it for everybody — yuck. Fuck, man, I just want to read some stats, like why are you cramming man-pussy in the middle of the sports page like that?’”

After delivering the hurtful, tone-deaf material, Chappelle said essentially that he doesn’t understand trans people but that he doesn’t think that “disqualifies them from being a human being that deserves a life with dignity and happiness and respect,” according to Vulture. 

Chappelle has been lauded for tackling thorny issues around race in his comedy shows, but he continues to rack up hateful comments about trans people while also pretending to defend trans rights, as if otherizing a group of people doesn't put them in danger. 

During the run-up to the election, when the issue of bathroom bills was heating up, Chappelle said, “If you need to show your birth certificate to take a dump at a Walmart in North Carolina, that’s insane,” according to The Observer. But he followed it up by saying he wouldn’t want “a woman with a dick” using the urinal next to him. 

At the time he also took aim at LGBT activists speaking out for intersectionality. “They should not be having that conversation in front of black people,” Chappelle said. “You go ahead and feel something about your rights. But if you’re putting sexism and homophobia and transphobia in front of racism, you should be ashamed of yourself."

During his Radio City show, Chappelle took another stab at intersectionality, saying, “The only reason all of us are talking about transgenders is because white men want to do it," according to Vulture.

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