brad paisley, jimmy kimmel, transphobia, bathroom bills

Bad Ally: Country Star Sticks Up For Trans Women, Calls Them Men

Why we’re covering this: We love country music, and we love when people call out HB2, but this ain’t the way to do it.

This week, country superstar Brad Paisley appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and addressed everyone’s favorite topic, North Carolina’s House Bill 2 and other idiotic bathroom bills like it.

Good news: He thinks the bathroom bills are foolish nonsense!

Bad news: He thought this was the best way to get that across:

If you can’t watch the video right now, Paisley takes out a guitar and sings a re-written version of the Tammy Wynette classic “Stand By Your Man” called “Sit By Your Man,” which basically takes the false idea that trans women are men and runs with it. The lyrics:

Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman
‘Specially when you’re born a man
In North Carolina
They’re checkin’ for vaginas
If you want to use the can
And I say: Sit by your man
We’re all just human bein’s
He’s just a human peein’
In the stall right next to you
Sit by your man
Why is this such a big deal?
Hike up your dress
And take a stand
And sit by your man

While the sentiment is nice — people just want to pee! — the delivery sucks. The “comedy” in this piece plays off the idea that trans women are freaks and weirdos — sort of like how being told “you’re one of the good ones” doesn’t exactly make you feel good.

But still — shouldn’t we cut him some slack for being on the right side of the issue? Tyler Ford explains why that’s not a good idea:

The topic of problematic allies has come up in two recent comedy specials: Patton Oswalt’s Talking For Clapping and W. Kamau Bell’s Semi-Prominent Negro. It’s interesting in the way the two comedians talk about the same subject — Oswalt says that we should listen to their hearts and ignore the words — his example, taking the voice of a “good guy”:

‘Coupla fags wanna get married, or some dykes, how the fuck does that affect you, asshole? If there’s some tranny out there it’s like, ‘I don’t wanna dick no more, i wanna vagina’, then boom, it’s a she now, or whatever the fuck, she, it, whatever they wanna call themselves, that’s it, don’t affect you.

On the other hand, Bell’s take:

New York had gay marriage way before San Francisco had gay marriage, but you wouldn’t think because San Francisco is a gay place, and yet New York City legalized gay marriage first. And I don’t get it because when you talk to people in the Bay Area about gay marriage, they’re like “Well, I think if two people wanna get married, it’s up to them, I don’t think it’s any of my concern to stop them, it’s up to those two people if they wanna fall in love it’s up to them…” So you gonna vote for it? “No, I’m not votin’ for it, I’m not gonna do that! I got a big check from the Mormons, I’m not votin’ for it!” But you ask someone in New York City what they think of marriage equality, they’re like “Hey, I don’t care what faggots do.” Whaaaat? Oh my God! Did you really just say that?! Does that mean you’re against it? “No, I just said I don’t care what faggots—” Oh, God! Oh, Jesus! Oh, no! Are you sure? “I’m on the committee to let fagg—” All right! All right, are you sure? “Nigga, you’re not listening! I’m trying to tell you!” OK, all right, just go vote for gay marriage, come back, I’ll explain how to be an ally, but it was nice to meet you, Alec Baldwin…

Even though Oswalt’s example may have his heart in the right place — he’s clearly not being a true ally. While Oswalt complains about having to keep up with the terminology — his example is the outcry over RuPaul using the word “tranny” shows his confusion on the issue and that he seems to think that drag is the same as being trans. Bell, on the other hand, compares it to software updates — “we have to keep updating our software, getting to the next place — and if you don’t update your software, then you just get that spinning beachball-face, you see people walkin like “aaaagh”… and that’s how you get a Republican.”

Brad Paisley needs to update his software… but then he has for a while. Anyone remember the similarly “oh, honey, no” song “Accidental Racist“?

Brad Paisley’s heart is clearly in the right place — but maybe he should meet up with W. Kamau Bell so Bell can explain how to be an ally. (Hopefully he’ll bring Patton Oswalt along for the ride.)