A few hours ago TMZ posted that self-proclaimed multimedia maven B. Scott filed a lawsuit against BET to the tune of $2.5 million dollars, for their discrimination based on his outfit at their music awards show earlier this summer, in which B. Scott was slated to be a pre-show correspondent. There are lots of layers to Scott’s lawsuit and TMZ’s tweet, so let’s get started.
TMZ called B. Scott “transgender” and Twitter erupted, replying to TMZ that Scott’s look was not transgender, but androgynous.
And this is where my problem derives.
First off, B. Scott is known for his catch phrases like “Love Muffins,” video time with Mariah Carey and his YouTube vlogs spanning back to the days of him sitting next to his patio with a towel on his head. Over the years his brand has expanded from YouTube- which has more than 93,000 subscribers- to television, capturing the admiration of a loyal followers which then prompted him a spot working with networks like Bravo and BET. With all of that said: one thing he has not been known for until now was self identifying as transgender.
It is very irresponsible for B. Scott to claim being trans after all of these years of stanning for androgynous or gender non-conforming. Interesting thing about sexuality is that it does involve this magical spectrum we tend to only speak about when it comes to our bisexual, downlow brothers or lesbian sisters. We all experience time periods where we learn more about our sexuality and gender. So I totally get that.
Today, he released a personal statement on his blog accompanying the lawsuit to explain. “It is by that definition that I accept and welcome the ‘transgender’ label with open arms,” said B. Scott. “It is also by that definition that BET and Viacom willingly and wrongfully discriminated against my gender identity during the 2013 BET Awards Pre-Show.”
After reading his blog post, maybe he is going through the process (or in his words “accepting ‘transgender’”). I can only hope his actions don’t spiral out of control with assumptions in our community. For those guys who actually are fluid in their style of dress between masculine and feminine to be lumped in the same category as transgender. It’s definitely not fair to them or the transgender community.
Although the words transgender and androgynous are used interchangeably, they are not the same. To be transgender, in the simplest terms, is to have a fluid sexual appearance and/or gender that you self-identify not matching one’s assigned sex. Androgyny, on the other hand, is the combining of masculine and feminine to create a more ambiguous or neutral look. As I’m perplexed myself trying to follow his story, his actions will continue to confuse those who have no idea what it means to be a member of the LGBTQ community.
Instead of suing for $2.5 million, perhaps B. Scott could have taken the time to educate the community about sexuality and gender identification. Imagine a panel with transgender, transexual, a-sexual, homosexual black men talking honestly about their experiences, setting the rules for conversations. I would give anything to see a special on black men, hosted by black men, talking about their sexuality and gender. Developing a platform to demonstrate the many, many characters found in our community besides the ones we read about in books or see on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” would be beneficial. We have to stop the (white, heterosexual) media from writing our narratives and be willing to tell our own stories at any risk.
BET was well aware of B. Scott’s “look” when they hired him. To say it was a miscommunication is an insult to his and our intelligence. Between his Youtube channel, EBONY Magazine appearances, guest spots on television and larger digital footprint on #BlackTwitter, a quick Google search would have given the most simple “Catfish” victim a true idea of who he is and how he dresses. Even when spats were released about B. Scott not feeling comfortable on the red carpet, I still felt something was off base then. If he was not secure he wasn’t sticking true to his brand, why even continue with appearance and/or change?
Was there no contract signed before hand? In an open letter written by B. Scott soon after the incident, he said all his outfits were pre-approved with a BET employee. So it’s okay for BET to police the outfits of correspondents, but performers aren’t given the same restrictions? If BET is worried about their brand’s image, B. Scott was the least of their problems until now.
At the end of the day, I can respect B. Scott’s decision to identify as transgender; however, the timing couldn’t be any better or profitable. There are trans women and men out here being powerful representations of what we’ve seen in the past like Janet Mock and Laverne Cox. It’s time for us to start recognizing the “T” in LGTBQ and not make a joke or cop out for trans people. If we want to complain about people policing and making money off our sexuality, we must demand respect from our own. In the famous words of the now transgender B. Scott, “Bitch. Boo. Bye!”