Saturday Night Live and Michael Che accused of transphobia after ‘gross, weird and creepy’ joke

Michael Che hosting Saturday Night Live's "The Weekend Update" with a picture of President Joe Biden in the background with text underneath reading 'repeals military transgender ban'

Saturday Night Live (SNL) and Michael Che are facing accusations of transphobia after the “Weekend Update” host was accused of making an anti-trans joke.

On Saturday’s (30 January) episode, Che addressed president Joe Biden‘s recent executive order overturning the ban against trans Americans serving in the military.

During the segment, Che said: “President Biden signed an executive order repealing Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. It’s good news, except Biden is calling the policy: ‘Don’t ask, don’t tuck’, which is not good news.”

The camera then panned to the “Weekend Update” co-host Colin Jost, but Che can be heard in the background saying “whatever man” while laughing. 

Lee Clatworthy, acting chair for trans charity Sparkle, said SNL has a “history of punching down at LGBTQ+ people”, but he found it “astounding in 2021 that a senior writer and his colleagues still think it’s necessary to broadcast a joke in which trans women are the butt”.

“The fact the joke received such a lukewarm reception from the audience proves that the majority of society is now tired of lazy and offensive writing using an already marginalised community as a target,” Clatworthy said.

The Saturday Night Live joke was met with backlash from fans

It wasn’t long before people on Twitter labelled the joke as “transphobic“, with many questioning why the line was approved by SNLs writers. One user asked what is SNL’s “weird obsession with transphobic nonsense”, adding it was “gross and weird and creepy” the way “some cis people are obsessed with our bodies”.

This isn’t the first time Michael Che has been accused of transphobia

People online pointed out that this is not the first time Che has been accused of making an anti-trans joke during the segment. In October 2019, Che faced similar backlash after he told a “Weekend Update” joke which dead-named and misgendered Caitlyn Jenner

Che also used a transgender slur during his Netflix standup special Michael Che Matters

“Weekend Update” co-host Jost also came under fire for a 2016 joke which poked fun at Tinder’s gender options, which allowed trans and gender nonconforming users the option to choose from dozens of new gender alternatives. He said the option was called: “Why Democrats lost the election.”

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