Viewers who were hoping to tune into Sunday night’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta for some light drama and quotable catfighting were met by yet another barrage of transphobia from Kenya Moore.
After a week of swift and scathing backlash against Moore’s recent transphobic tirade on RHOA, some viewers naively hoped that Bravo would prevent any such language from airing on the show again — especially given that a large segment of Housewives fans are members of the LGBTQ community.
Instead, the show continued to give Moore’s troubling remarks a televised platform on Sunday night, suggesting that transgender people are the punchline of a joke and that gender-confirmation surgery is fair game for reality television fodder.
“Where’s your dick, because your clearly have a hard-on for me,” Moore asked returning cast member Kim Zolciak-Biermann during Sunday’s episode. She later went even further, saying, “Why do you have such a hard-on for me? Didn’t they cut your dick off when you had your reassignment? Do you have a dick or do you not have a dick?”
These remarks echoed comments made by Moore in the previous episode, after Zolciak-Biermann accused Moore of faking her marriage with Marc Daly.
Fans made their outrage known over Twitter on Sunday night.
As a transgender woman and longtime fan of the Housewives franchise, I decided that the most effective way to voice my outrage was to talk directly to Moore, who appeared on Watch What Happens Live with housewife whisperer Andy Cohen after Sunday’s episode of RHOA aired.
After calling in and explaining my frustrations to the seemingly sympathetic Watch What Happens Live phone operator, I was told that “being transgender should never be used as an insult.” But after the team at WWHL apparently reviewed my concerns about Moore’s transphobic comments, it was decided that instead of having me air my grievances to Moore myself, Cohen would address Moore’s remarks at the top of the show.
“You’re getting a lot of heat about what you said to Kim about reassignment surgery,” Cohen told Moore during WWHL. “Talk to me about it.”
“Initially, I was just going after Kim,” Moore responded. “I was just incensed by her remarks towards me and her hatred, so I was trying to offend Kim, but definitely didn’t mean to offend anyone else.”
I was hopeful that Cohen would give Moore a well-deserved reprimanding on behalf of his trans brothers and sisters, but I was left disappointed by Cohen’s weak questioning and Moore’s tepid apology. I wasn’t alone.
In a year that has shaped up to be the deadliest yet for transgender women in the United States, Moore’s intentions are hardly as significant as the material impact of her language, which demeaned and ridiculed transgender bodies in front of millions of TV viewers.
The time has come for the Real Housewives of every city to think beyond their Bravo paychecks and veer away from the lazy and tired transphobic and homophobic jokes that seem to become a plot point in nearly every season.
And if the housewives refuse to step up their LGBTQ allyship, the onus falls on Bravo and Andy Cohen to make sure that hateful rhetoric of any kind is left on the cutting room floor where it belongs.