Radio hosts’ hateful rant condones violence against trans children

5 06 2009

Via Alas, A Blog, Womanist Musings, The Huffington Post

On May 28th, 2009, Arnie and Rob from KRXQ FM viciously attacked trans children on their “Rob, Arnie, and Dawn in the Morning” show in in Sacramento, California and also KDOT in Reno.  The attack was in response to the recent story of 8-year-old Kate in Omaha, NE and her parents’ decision to support her transition.  Among the approximately 30-minute long rant were the following comments:

ROB WILLIAMS [11:12]: This is a weird person who is demanding attention. And when it’s a child, all it takes is a hug, maybe some tough love or anything in between. When your little boy said, ‘Mommy, I want to walk around in a dress.’ You tell them no cause that’s not what boys do. But that’s not what we’re doing in this culture.

ARNIE STATES [13:27]: If my son, God forbid, if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes. I would throw a shoe at him. Because you know what? Boys don’t wear high heels. And in my house, they definitely don’t wear high heels.

ROB WILLIAMS [17:45]: Dawn, they are freaks. They are abnormal. Not because they’re girls trapped in boys bodies but because they have a mental disorder that needs to be somehow gotten out of them. That’s where therapy could help them.

ROB WILLIAMS [18:15]: Or because they were molested. You know a lot of times these transgenders were molested. And you need to work with them on that. The point is you don’t allow the behaviour. You cure the cause!

ARNIE STATES [21:30]: You got a boy saying, ‘I wanna wear dresses.’ I’m going to look at him and go, ‘You know what? You’re a little idiot! You little dumbass! Look, you are a boy! Boys don’t wear dresses.’

ARNIE STATES [29:22]: You know, my favourite part about hearing these stories about the kids in high school, who the entire high school caters around, lets the boy wear the dress. I look forward to when they go out into society and society beats them down. And they end up in therapy.

“Allowing transgenders to exist, pretty soon it becomes normal to fall in love with the animals,” they said.

Disgusting.  Absolutely disgusting.  Whether Arnie and Rob are “shock-jocks” or not, this is no excuse for their appalling  behavior.  Trans people face hatred, abuse, and violence daily, and programs such as these serve to condone this violence and bigotry.   This is an obvious display of sheer hatred, cis-privilege, and ignorance.  Arnie and Rob’s tirade condones hate crimes, transphobia, and child abuse.  Their statements spread fake psychological bullshit about mental disorders with no expertise, and attempt to enforce rigid definitions of acceptable gendered behavior through violence and bigotry.

In a report, Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Youth in Our Nation’s Schools by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, it was found that nearly 9 out of 10 transgender students had experienced verbal harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation and gender expression. More than half have experienced physical harassment.  About 65% of transgender students reported feeling unsafe in school because of their gender expression.  39% of the students overheard school staff make negative comments about a person’s gender expression sometimes, often or frequently in the past year.

Apparently, the show’s cohost, Dawn, has apologized for her co-hosts’ behavior and attempted to stand up to her co-hosts during the show, but Arnie and Rob have refused an apology beyond apologizing that some may have not found the segment funny.

Obviously ignoring his own transphobic statements, Rob said:

I’m sorry that you might find it funny — or I’m sorry that you might not find it funny that some people laugh when Arnie — who does not have a child — talks about throwing a shoe at his non-existent son. You know what? Some people do laugh and they know we’re not serious, that Arnie’s not serious and we don’t advocate for it.

Rob ignored issues of transphobia and hatred, only stating that the show did not support violence against children.  This is a lame attempt to masquerade hate as humor.  Hatred and cruelty is NEVER funny.  Advocating violence against transpeople is ALWAYS wrong.  Promoting hatred against ANYONE is always wrong.  Ron and Arnie need to be held accountable for their defamatory, ignorant, and cruel remarks.

As much as Ron and Arnie are allowed free speech, advocating violence and hate should NOT be allowed on public radio without consequences.  Lisa at Questioning Transphobia says:

I’m also disturbed at the commenters at HuffPo who feel it is immediately important to rush forward and defend Arnie and Rob from criticism of their words by characterizing such criticism as an attempt to rob them of their free speech. Seriously, criticism is also an exercise of free speech. Also, inciting violence is not an exercise of free speech. It’s an attempt to foster an environment in which the target group (in this case, trans people, specifically trans children) are made to feel unsafe just for existing. Apparently, it’s just fine to use public intimidation against some people, but it’s not okay to object to that intimidation.

You can contact KRXQ management in Sacramento, CA to demand a public apology from Ron and Arnie and to ask for a clear policy so that the station will no longer be used to promote violence and hate.

If you live in the Sacramento area, you can also protest when the FCC broadcast license comes up for renewal for the station.

Here’s the contact info:

John Geary
Vice President & General Manager
(916) 339-4209

Arnie States
On Air Personality
(916) 334-7777

Rob Williams
On Air Personality
(916) 334-7777

Or as Lisa at Questioning Transphobia and Ampersand at Alas, A Blog suggest, writing a letter to some of the show’s sponsors asking them to pull funding may be the best way to send a message that we will not stand for this.  Snapple, Sonic, and Chipotle have already pulled their ads. Here is a list of the show’s sponsors.



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