An article titled "A Case Study in Transmisogyny: The Colbert Report & The Daily Show" by Leela Ginelle makes a point of revealing the damaging, transphobic language of the otherwise progressive television show hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Ginelle, writing for PQ Monthly, uses pointed remarks and maddening examples of dialogue from the two host's respective shows to make clear the lack of respect they hold for transgender women.
Here is a selection of dialogue and Ginelle's commentary, reported by PQ Monthly:
“Governor Bob Riley, of Alabama, is fond of banana pudding…when served off the breasts of a Thai shemale.” – The Colbert Report
Isn’t Stephen Colbert funny? He’s a satirist.
“…President Elect, Obama is meeting every day with his transition team, or in beltway lingo, ‘trannies’.” – The Colbert Report
He pretends he’s a conservative pundit, like Bill O’Reilly, but you can tell he isn’t. He never makes jokes that are actually hurtful to minority groups, like gays and lesbians. It’s more like he’s making fun of conservatives who in real life would make those jokes. Clever, huh?
There seems to be one exception to this, though. A group he appears to think is beneath dignity, and that feels free to bully. A set of slurs he finds hilarious.
This consistent ridicule is completely unbalanced by any positive representation on the program. Transwomen are purely unseen punching bags, brought out for a quick “laugh.”
Stephen Colbert and his show suffer no loss of luster for this behavior, even as actual transgender women suffer 53% of all lgbtq violent crimes and remain 50 times more likely than any other population to contract HIV.
Though Ginelle is selective in her choice of the host's dialogue, there nonetheless appears to be an inordinate level of allowance for such slurs on television. She also links to a change.org petition aimed at informing Stewart and Colbert of their offensive language, and asking them to correct it.
However, Ginelle won't settle:
As for myself, until I hear as many apologies from the two as I’ve heard “jokes” like these, I’ll get my news and “laughs” elsewhere.