Hollywood is always reminding us of its rosy vision of the future where there are absolutely no limits to sexual adventurism and gender confusion. Seldom is heard a discouraging word about the next new frontier of tolerance. "If it feels good, do it" isn't merely a T-shirt slogan. In California, it should become the state motto, and might soon sound like a new pledge of allegiance -- one utopia, casting aside any moral compass, finding liberty and justice in applauding every perversion.
On television, it's become almost blase to place a reality show in the fashion world that merely features gay men with pink hair and cross-dressing judges. The CW network show "America's Next Top Model" has now gone through 10 seasons of "top models." So to freshen up the concept, hostess Tyra Banks announced that for the fall season, one of the girls will be a man -- or, to use the politically correct term, a "transgender."
The contestant's name will be "Isis," even though websites whisper "her" real name is Darrell. "Her" preferred terminology is "a woman born physically male." This met with applause from the political correctness police. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation hailed the move as "an unprecedented opportunity for a community that is underrepresented on television." The entertainment media followed along, like little pooches in GLAAD's purse.
Us magazine is treating "Isis" like some sort of courageous pioneer for civil rights, as if she was the Martin Luther King of cross-dressing, or perhaps the new Rosa Parks of castration. (The "girl" still has male genitalia.) They asked, "Will she be a role model?" The contestant would only promise: "I like to help people, but I'm here to follow my dreams."
When one news channel started to giggle at the Isis gambit, GLAAD broke out its ruler and slapped them on the knuckles for "using dehumanizing terminology, inaccurate and inappropriate pronouns and offensive references to her anatomy." That means you're not allowed to use "inaccurate" male pronouns (reality be damned), and you're not allowed to note "she" still is all man under there. Some facts are "defamation," apparently.
Fox News interviewed Us magazine editor Ian Drew -- a gay man -- to discuss the show. Drew cattily proclaimed, "We call it America's Next Top Tranny' a lot of the time anyway. She doesn't look a lot different than any of the other contestants that have been on there. I mean, they're not exactly like the most high-class group of women usually." Fox anchor Gregg Jarrett laughed and said, "You're gonna get a phone call." Exactly.
It doesn't matter if this "high-class" CW show thrives on misbehaving models who screech at each other or even wear diapers and announce they've wet themselves. It doesn't matter if CW dreams up "challenges" like forcing the models to do a photo shoot wearing a bikini made of meat. No one is allowed to speak in disparaging tones about the new frontier. Fox News and Us Magazine both knuckled under and apologized.
Overcoming "transphobia" is breaking out all over television. VH-1 has a new reality show called "I Want to Work for Diddy," the latest absurd series to massage the immense ego of hip-hop mogul Sean Combs. One of the contestants aspiring to be a Diddy servant is cross-dressing black man "Laverne," who was placed on the show so that other desperate contestants (including a slovenly white guy named Boris) can be mocked for their "transprejudice."
ABC has not one, but two dramas that celebrate sexual "reassignment" surgery. "Ugly Betty," another show set in the fashion industry, features the character "Alexis," who used to be Alex, implausibly played by the gorgeous supermodel Rebecca Romijn. On the show "Dirty, Sexy Money," a New York state attorney general played by Billy Baldwin sleeps with what ABC calls a "super sultry transgender mistress," played by a real-life transsexual who goes by the stage name Candis Cayne. "Her" real name was Brendan McDaniel, in case you're wondering.
When Cayne was interviewed on "Good Morning America" last fall, co-host Robin Roberts repeatedly praised the new role model: "You're extremely talented. You're well known here in New York with your cabaret act. I know you're hearing from a lot of young people who are just very appreciative that you've come forward." Only celebration of the revolution is allowed.
What's next? The San Francisco Chronicle reported the local "gender illusionist" club Asia SF is pitching its own reality show, "a series documenting the lives of 22 male-to-female transgender people as they master complex choreography, learn to move like biologically born women, and fight through often painful transitions."
In California, no one in television dares say, "stop the merry-go-round, I want to get off."