One 'Bachelorette' Contestant's Biggest Fear Is Dating A Trans Person, Apparently
As I'm sure most of you with a pulse and/or a Facebook newsfeed have already heard, The Bachelorette contestant bios were revealed this past Wednesday.
In their bios, they get a chance to list their totally legit professions, like "Whaboom" and "Tickle Monster" (yes, some guys actually listed that as their occupation) and answer some more personal questions about themselves.
One contestant, a 30-year-old firefighter named Bryce, was asked what his biggest date fear is. His response was that "the chick is actually a dude."
UPDATE: On May 19, 2017, a spokesperson from ABC addressed Bryce's comments in his bio in a statement to TheWrap: "This comment does not reflect the views of ABC, Warner Horizon or bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. We have removed it from ABC.com."
The comment in question has since been deleted from Bryce's contestant bio.
Perhaps Bryce did not intend to offend an entire community of already marginalized individuals.
But careless statements like his only serve to further alienate the trans community. They continue to perpetuate our society's popular, yet wildly incorrect assumption that trans people are simply "men disguised as women" or vice versa, seeking only to deceive innocent dudes, like himself.
Insensitive comments like Bryce's also don't help to quell the fear and aversion a surprising number of people still have toward the trans community.
In fact, according to recently released data from YouGovUS, 21 percent of Americans still think identifying as transgender constitutes having a mental illness. Moreover, 39 percent of people think being transgender is a choice.
When it comes to the realm of dating, the stats regarding trans individuals look even more daunting. People reported they were way less likely to date trans men (17 percent less likely) and trans women (16 percent less likely).
What's worse? An alarming 27 percent of us aren't even willing to be friends with transgender people.
While they may be totally unintentional, one-off comments like Bryce's do nothing but continue the population's inability to accept trans individuals.
Not only can those statements unintentionally further marginalize the members of the trans community, but they also send the incorrect signal to people who are hostile to the trans community that doing so is OK.
People on Twitter have already started reacting negatively to Bryce's comment.
Bryce's comment should serve as a reminder to all of us to be increasingly careful about what we say and how we say it, especially when we're in an influential position.
Citations: 21% of Americans believe that being transgender is a mental illness (YouGovUs), The Bachelorette Cast (ABC)