READ: Janet Mock Responds to Violent, Transphobic ‘Breakfast Club’ Conversation

By Kenrya Rankin Jul 31, 2017

On July 28, comedian Lil Duval appeared on The Breakfast Club radio show, where he talked about killing trans women. The conversation centered around Janet Mock, a trans journalist whose advocacy work centers around bolstering the safety and lived experiences of trans people. Mock was on the show on July 25.


Lil Duval is unapologetic for his violent, transphobic comments, which can be viewed in the videos above. But organizers have mobilized to boycott the show using the hashtag #BoycottBreakfastClub, and The Marsha P. Johnson Institute is circulating a petition to demand an on-air apology for Mock, transgender people in general and Black trans women in particular.

Today (July 31), Mock penned a response to the abusive episode on Titled, “Dear Men of ‘The Breakfast Club’: Trans Women Aren’t a Prop, Ploy or Sexual Predators,” the essay starts with a discussion of why she appeared on the show.

I had watched previous interviews over the years and was familiar with their provocative and oftentimes problematic brand of talk. … Yet I was hopeful that I could use the show’s vast platform to speak directly to their predominantly Black and Latinx listeners, who are often excluded from the conversations held in mainstream LGBT spaces (which are largely White, moneyed and concerned with the centering of cis folk). I hoped I could make listeners aware of the lived realities of their trans sisters, and let them know that we deserve to be seen, heard and acknowledged without the threat of harassment, exclusion and violence.

She goes on to write about the hosts’ reaction to Duval’s comments:

The hosts laugh after using my image as a literal prop—just days after I was a guest on the same show—for laughs, vitriol and a deeper call and justification for violence. Just so we are all clear: On a Black program that often advocates for the safety and lives of Black people, its hosts laughed as their guest advocated for the murder of bBlack trans women who are Black people, too! …

Duval purposefully misgendered me (as the hosts laugh, thereby cosigning) in an attempt to put me in my place and erase my womanhood. Their fragile masculinity would not allow them to recognize a simple truth: I am an accomplished, beautiful Black trans woman. Your willful ignorance will not stop me from being exactly who I am. My sisters and I are here and we exist, and you will not diminish our light and our brilliance.

Mock then writes about why this rhetoric is dangerous:

Until cis people—especially heteronormative men—are able to interrogate their own toxic masculinity and realize their own gender performance is literally killing trans women, cis men will continue to persecute trans women and blame them for their own deaths. If you think trans women should disclose and “be honest,” then why don’t you work on making the damn world safe for us to exist in the first place? The “I’d kill a woman if I found out” rhetoric is precisely why so many women hold themselves so tight—the stigma and shame attached to our desires need to be abolished.

The comments came the same week that President Donald Trump tweeted that transgender people would be banned from military service. Read Mock’s full essay here.