Sunday, June 07, 2009

Growing up transgender... my perspective on the KRXQ incident

First of all, let me qualify myself to discuss this topic. I am the founder of REC Networks, a 25 year old entity who, for the past 15 or so years has been advocating for the establishment of the Low Power FM (LPFM) radio service, assisted many LPFM applicants through free on-line tools, advocated for the citizen in access to the airwaves issues at the FCC, has come up to bat in situations where questionable applications were filed as well as the operator of one of the leading broadcast database reference tools for the United States and Candada used by broadcasters and hobbyists around the world. Our Canada broadcast suite is the default reference source on Wikipedia. With all of that, I could say that I am definitely a player in the broadcast community.

I am also transgender. You don't need to look any further than some of my old FCC filings to see that. I legally changed my name to Michelle Andrea Eyre in 2006. As a child, I was physically and psychologically abused by my parents for being transgender.

So with that out of the way, I feel highly qualified to speak on the KRXQ broadcast.

As a human being, as a transgender woman, as a godmother and as a fellow broadcaster, I am very appaled by the radio show on KRXQ which advocated abuse such as the throwing of shoes at male children who come out to say that they may be transgender.

I want to say up front that this is not a bash towards men in general, but unfortunately, we continue to live in a day where for some, the male pride of being a father to a boy is a desire by the father of the son to make sure his son grows up to be a man. This would include trying to get his son involved in typical "male" activities (sports, boy's toys, etc.).

Some men have a level of pride where they be embarrased if their son explores their feminine side and acts on that aspect that exists in all humans regardless of the gender. The father may fear that certain types of feminine traits will lead the son to grow up and be homosexual. Many experts have proven time and time again that there is no connection between homosexuality and gender identity. Some fathers may be afraid that they will be humiliated by their other male friends for having a "sissy for a son".

Right now, there are many young boys across this country who are being abused by their fathers (or sometimes even their mothers) for getting caught trying on their sister's clothes, playing with stereotypical female toys, having hobbies that are normally associated with girls or just outright coming out to their parents that they want to be a girl. The abuse could take place on grounds of embarrassment to the family and/or for religious reasons.

In my case, I was physically abused by my father for trying on female clothes as early as 8 years old and I have been verbally abused and intimidated by my mother my entire life. To this day, my parents do not accept my new identity and they deny the abuse that took place early in my life. I had to delay my transition for a long time as a result of this parental intimidation and I had to come to realize that they no longer controlled me. I finally went full time in 2006, 17 years later than I really wanted to.

When it comes to transgendered people, both adults and children, there is always this feel of disgust when the transition is from male to female (MTF), but there is hardly a problem when the transition is the other way. It is socially acceptable for a girl to be a "tomboy" when they are young and many are intrigued by the FTM, the female to male transsexual. FTMs are seen as revolutionaries while MTFs are seen as freaks. Why is that?

I guess what I am trying to say here is that I experienced the type of abuse that was being advocated by Rob and Arnie on the air. What they did is in my opinion, socially unacceptable in this day and age. I can more understand this type of abuse in the 1980's when I was going through my share but in this modern age of tolerance and diversity, it's a shame there are some who still don't get it and even worse, they are allowed to broadcast on a 50,000 watt FM radio station.

I have noticed that there are some who are encouraging members of the community to write the FCC to protest this action. Filing such complaints will not do much as hate speech such as that is technically protected under the First Amendment. Normally, the FCC will not act unless the speech results in a criminal action actually taking place (and we are talking within the Sacramento market here).

I encourage people to continue to contact KRXQ's advertisers as well as the advertisers of Entercom co-owned stations KSSJ, KSEG, KWOD, KDND and KCTC(AM). KRXQ will continue to benefit by revenues brought in by the sister stations in the Entercom Sacramento cluster. These advertisers should be encouraged to withold any advertising on the Entercom stations until significant disciplinary action are placed against Rob Williams and Arnie States for the statements made.

My headband is off to the gutsy national and statewide advertisers such as Snapple, Sonic, AT&T, CKE, and the others who stepped up to suspend their advertising contracts as a result of this broadcast.

If Rob and Arnie was encouraging violence to any specific racial group, I would think that stronger discipline would have taken place. Entercom I must remind you, in California, sexual orientation and gender identity is just as much as a protected group as any other minority group.

Apparently, there will be a show on Thursday morning on KRXQ to discuss this issue. I will be around and I know that I will be listening.

The memories of my years of physical and psychological abuse over my transsexuality will haunt me for the rest of my life. If we can save just one transgender child from this lifelong trauma of parental intolerance, then we are one step ahead.

My message to radio is simple, the plight of transgender children is a real issue and not a "Jerry Springer" freak-show topic. Please address this topic in a professional manner and not make it the butt-end joke of the Morning Zoo.

Michelle is the founder of REC Networks, an entity established in 1984 to "entertain, inform and support". Michelle is also known in amateur flat track roller derby as "Michi-chan" and has been producing video programs and writing articles on the sport as it is played in Arizona. Michelle operates Hardcore J, a 24 hour streaming radio station on which airs Japanese popular music.

WEB LINKS: ~ REC Networks ~ REAL Derby-The Arizona Derby Report ~ Hardcore J

MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle A. Eyre -


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure exactly what it is about the American psyche that violence and jokes about violence are entertaining and "Funny".

I'm all for freedom of speech. I think on the one hand, the jocks can say something like this. On the other hand, the radio station has to consider whether they want something that looks a lot like encouragement to beat kids to be associated with their radio station.

A genuine apology ought to be forthcoming to those who think beating kids who are different is not particularly chuckle-worthy.

-- ross