Trans Folks Are Not Jokes, and Trans Black Lives Matter

Charlamagne Tha God nearly got pushed off his The Breakfast Club throne this past weekend as local trans activitist Ashlee Marie Preston and others condemned his the radio show on which he is one of the hosts.

Charlamagne (aka Lenard McKelvey) was at the annual Politcon conference in Pasadena on Sunday to discuss politics and the hip hop community with Ari Melber, a host for MSNBC.

The discussion was interrupted with chants of “boycott the Breakfast Club” and ‘we are not a joke” by Preston and others.

They were referring to a controversial appearance on The Breakfast Club last week by the comedian Lil Duval. During a discussion on that segment with Janet Mock, author of “Surpassing Certainty,” Duval was asked what he would do if he discovered that a woman he was dating was transgender. He said he would kill her.

“This might sound messed up, but I don’t care, she dying.”

While the hosts pushed back a bit, they laughed at Duval’s remark.

Mock, in an opinion piece for, condemned Duval’s remarks and what she sensed as antipathy among many black men toward transgender black women. She also criticized The Breakfast Club, which is known for its ribald and sometimes off-color conversations.

“I had watched previous interviews over the years and was familiar with their provocative and oftentimes problematic brand of talk,” she wrote. “I witnessed the male hosts critique the bodies of black cis and trans women alike, as if we’re objects on display, open for dissection.”

“It’s this deplorable rhetoric that leads many cis men, desperately clutching their heterosexuality, to yell at, kick, spit on, shoot, burn, stone, and kill trans women of color. Until cis people — especially heteronormative men — are able to interrogate their own toxic masculinity and realize their own gender performance is literally killing trans women, cis men will continue to persecute trans women and blame them for their own deaths.”

At the Politcon discussion, Preston, editor-in-chief of Wear Your Voice magazine, and Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, stepped off their chairs and chanted as they approached the stage chanting “we are not a joke.”

Other trans activists have posted about the event on Twitter and Facebook, using hashtags such as #TransLivesMatter and #BoycottBreakfastClub and #TransFolksAreNotJokes.”

Preston recently was named editor of Wear Your Voice, becoming the first transgender editor of a magazine. She also is the author of an opinion piece in calling out Catch, the celebrity restaurant, for what she alleged was discrimination towards her because she is transgender and black.

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