FX’s Sons of Anarchy Uses Negative Transgender Stereotype For Comic Relief – Video

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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12 Responses

  1. Really Now? says:

    You can’t honestly be serious about this post? Sons of Anarchy is a show that is notorious for using any and all racist, sexist, or offensive stereotypes. The fact that you choose now to speak up honestly shows a lot about your character. You couldn’t care less when the words “nigger” or “spic” are used, because they don’t apply to you personally, but god forbid they have a transgender character in the show. Groggin’s character really had no negative connotation towards him. In fact Groggin played a very funny, empowered, character, who seemed to catch the eyes of every member of the cast on several occasions throughout the episode. You brining up the fact that the pictures are to be used as blackmail is completely asinine. The show takes place in modern day America, and whether you like it or not, the exact situation portrayed in the show would prove quite the problem for any man in a political situation today. It is better to have transgender characters portrayed in television as a comedic point, rather than being ignored entirely.

    Instead of attacking Sons of Anarchy for doing what they do best, entertaining, and offending the dim witted, you should be off educating people about the LBGT community. In the future (though I know this advice will be overlooked) try and keep your brittle feelings to yourself. The world isn’t here to spare your feelings, and venting on your blog every time someone upsets you will do nothing for the LBGT movement.

    Someone with a sense of humor.

  2. Follow Up says:

    One more thing, I just want to point out that before you lash out insulting Groggin- “Besides the fact that Walter Groggin’s isn’t even a good-looking man to begin with.” You should hear a direct quote from him “Both Kurt and I, again, wanted to be so respectful of transgenders and to make her as real as possible and someone who is lovely and someone who makes you see past it. Once the shock is over, you say to yourself, “You know what, I get it. She’s really sexy. What a very cool lady.” I hope we’ve done that.” http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/10/09/sons-of-anarchy-venus-van-dam/
    Please, put fourth this slightest bit of research before lashing out at someone in the future.

    • Will Kohler says:

      I am not attacking Sons of Anarachy per sea as much as I am attacking the fact that there are no REAL down to earth positive depictions of LGBT Characters on television to off set off color ones. If that was the case it wouldn’t be such an issue. Just tired of LGBT characters being used for comic relief or in satire. Surely you can understand that.

      • I definitely understand where you’re coming from, and I may have been quick to attack you, just as I said you did with Son’s of Anarchy haha. With educated people starting to vastly outnumber the mindless sheep who cling to their bigoted ways, it shouldn’t be too much longer before people can open their minds and be more accepting to those they consider different. Anyways, sorry for the attack, and I hope you have a good day!

  3. Patrick says:

    From the G0YS website:

    ‘When people began to use the term “GAY”, it primarily meant “Same-Sex-Attracted”. G0YS have no issue with that original, simple meaning. However, over time, -the term has taken on lots of ASSociated-baggage as a result of stigmas from stereotypes – many aggressively & shamelessly promoted in the “GAY MALE COMMUNITY” itself.

    It is one thing to be slurred by “outsiders”; — However, the bulk of Gay-male stigmas are promoted as “gay-culture” from within the “gay-male demographic”. When a group declares itself “anathema”, what appeal to “tolerance” remains? None!

    From an entertainment standpoint, I found the scene in this episode wildly hilarious…and indeed, had to replay it over and over, mostly to watch the enthusiastic reaction of the young man in the scene. (The fact that it wasn’t me providing him with a ~positive~ same-gender-attracted role model was a shame. LOL. And it still wouldn’t have made either one of us ‘gay’.)

    From a reality standpoint, I found it painfully disturbing, but not in the way Will Kohler did. It was a very uncomfortable depiction; art imitating life, and quite accurately. There are few transgender individuals that can execute a successful change, one that is entirely convincing. The vast majority of ‘everyday’ cross-dressers, transsexuals and transgenders just don’t quite hit the mark. There are those standout exceptions that amazingly fool both men and woman alike, but they are the rarity. We must also understand, that the character in the episode was unique…not male, not female…but in my opinion an individual that possibly chose to remain at this particular stage of ‘transition’ for the financial gain as a prostitute.

    Can transgenders have a community? Absolutely. But please don’t call them GAY.

    That having been said, what the hell do all these fringe factions have to do with simple Same-Gender-Attraction? Do we, as a community of MEN, have to incorporate every fringe element into our demographic? For this very basic reason, after 28 years of seeing a community of MEN be gradually taken over and misrepresented by extremism and negative stereotypes FROM WITHIN, I have had to distance myself from “GAY”. Luckily, after that 28 year foray, 7 years ago I found an alternative – G0YS – follow the link in my info above. It’s time to get back to a male-centric community comprised of men of good conscience, one that promotes Masculine Respect; one that focuses on promoting a clearly-defined example of Same-Gender-Attraction, rather than blurring the lines; one that provides a good male-oriented example for our young male youth.

  4. Tom Stedham says:

    I think you are overlooking the very first thing I noticed: all the Christian imagery on the councilman’s wall. There was a large cross in the corner, and several photos of him with a priest, and so forth.

    The “gay” angle was thus obviously used to blackmail A CLEARLY RELIGIOUS MAN…

    It was like “okay, this guy is a church-going goodie-two-shoes. How can we set him up?”

  5. Get a life says:

    Get a life, to get offended about a ts on sons of anarchy is comical. no its just stupid. If you think about it , if you gay and you raise hell of this, then you need to stay in the closet. most people dont care what you do behind close doors , i just dont want a parade with every one who is out messing up my day. untill you the radicals stay locked up GBLT will just be an enigma. you fuck it up for the normal gay’s who just want to live a normal life.

  6. ted says:

    that was episode was hilarious. This guy plays a hard ass criminal on Justified and now he is whacked out female(?) hooker transsexual. It was disturbing to look at him, like the wires in his brain were crossed up and suffering from mental disorder. Won’t watch Justified quite the same way again. However he ‘does’ in the show would surely pay handsomely to avoid public knowledge of his ‘disorder’. the show is taking some sharp turns, hope they don’t end up in a 180 turn.

  7. Hi…I’m a trans woman..and a long time activist in the Chicago Trans community. Will Kohler…you don’t know the first thing about trans women…I know many trans women…that pretty much mirror Goggins’ role of Venus Van Dam. I feel almost a visceral anger towards self proclaimed Crusaders. Goggins did an excellent job in portraying a SEGMENT of the trans community that really exists. There REALLY are many trans women that are not pageant queens or that don’t meet societies “passing” standards. You seem to imply that the only roles for trans women that are legitimate , are roles that present trans women in a positive roles… I love and admire Lavern Cox…but the role that she portrays in “Orange is the New Blank” is a total fantasy.. Just the fact there is no prison system that allows trans women to be housed with women should raise a few questions . But she passes the trans women as beauty queens test. The writers of SOA…have collected a slew of folks from every possible walk of life and presented EVERYONE, except the babies, as corrupted, manipulating, villainous humans. There are no “good” guys… another thing…the vile relationship Venus and her mother REALLY says something about experiences that many girls that I work with and advocate for on an almost daily basis.

    • Will Kohler says:

      Alexis. That post was written after Venus’ FIRST appearance on SOA when they were just using the character as a stigma to blackmail another character with. NOT after fleshing her out and giving her an actual story.

  8. Mr. Black says:

    The show is absolute garbage anyway. Let’s see, it promotes gangs, it tells men and women alike that criminally-minded, bearded morons with loud motorcycle pipes which ruin the peace and quiet of normal people’s days are good, sensitive, complex people.

    No, bikers that look like that care nothing for the rest and relaxation of others, and they frequently steal copper to support their meth habits, that they usually have going on. They’re about as complex as a dog reliving itself and just as elegant.

    I dislike bikers and I dislike the influence the fake ones have over a lot of people.

    In fact, shows like this show impressionable young men and women the lie that drug-dealing(meth and other horrible drugs, not medicine like pot) bikers aren’t the back-stabbing, woman-beating, gay-bashing retards that they are and always will be.

    See a guy with long beard, loud motorcycle, tattoos and a scowl? Sure, he may be a swell guy, but chances are he’d gladly rev his engine over and over at your aunt Suzie’s funeral, if they could, and believe me, they try.

    Did I mention that I rather dislike bikers?

  1. August 12, 2013

    […] Kohler finds the portrayal objectionable because 1) Goggins doesn’t pass as female; 2) is an overblown stereotype of a transsexual […]

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