Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Lil Mama Apologizes For Negative Comments To Leiomy

I'll admit because I have such disdain and contempt for reality TV shows, I missed Sunday's America's Best Dance Crew show on MTV in which judge Lil' Mama made disparaging comments to Leiomy Maldonado.

If you haven't heard it by now, the leader of the New York based Vogue Evolution team is a trans woman. These vets of the NY ballroom scene have been ripping it up for several weeks now in their quest to not only represent the GLBT community, but win the $100,000 grand prize as well.

Leiomy has also taken this time in the media spotlight to openly talk about being trans and has done a few interviews with Vogue Evolution about being an out and proud dance crew.

But back to the business at hand. During the August 30, 2009 episode rapper Lil Mama, one of the judges for this show, said this during a critique:

“Leiomy, come on. Your behavior…it’s unacceptable. I just feel that you always have to remember your truth. You were born a man and you are becoming a woman. If you’re going to become a woman, act like a lady. Don’t be a bird, like ‘Oh my god, I’m not doing this!’ You know what I’m saying? It gets too crazy and it gets confusing. You’re doing this for America. Even though you’re the face for transgenders, you’re the face of America right now with this group and it’s not about anybody else. It’s about y’all. You know what I’m saying? So do it for the team. Do it for the team.”

GLAAD reached out to Lil Mama and MTV after receiving numerous calls and e-mails from community members and allies regarding those comments.

GLAAD sent me an e-mail this afternoon letting me know that Lil Mama has now apologized for those comments.

Lil Mama: "I would like to clarify anything that was misunderstood from Sunday's show. My remarks were never meant to be disrespectful regarding Leiomy's  gender nor offensive to the LGBT community, which has been a community that has supported me in all my endeavors.

However, in hindsight, I recognize that my words may have come across as hurtful. I spoke with her privately after the taping to express that it was not my intent to offend her or any member of the transgender community and that I still live for Vogue Evolution."

"While we thank Lil Mama for her apology, this incident demonstrates the need for more education around the lives and experiences of transgender people. Lil Mama’s comments during her critique attempted to impose standards of conformity for gender identity and expression -- a mistake that many people make,” said Rashad Robinson, Senior Director of Media Programs at GLAAD.

“Transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, become targets of discrimination and violence when inaccuracies and acts of insult like this are advanced. Contrary to what was said on the program, as an openly transgender woman and dance contestant, Leiomy is living her truth,” Robinson continued.

“It was surprising that MTV, a network that has shown a strong commitment to fair and accurate inclusion of transgender and gay people, would choose to air a clip that includes such disrespectful comments,” said Robinson.

MTV has not yet publicly addressed the comments made by Lil Mama in the episode.

But while we're waiting for their reaction, I'm gonna have to start tuning in to America's Best Dance Crew and see if Vogue Evolution can win it all.

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