Trans bombshell Carmen Carrera, best known as the fourth runner-up of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 3, is asking TLC's Cake Boss to apologize after her appearance on last night's episode. Carrera appeared on the show to participate in a prank set up by Buddy "Cake Boss" Valastro and directed at Anthony "Cousin Anthony" Bellifemine. Basically, the prank was to convince Anthony to flirt with Carrera and then reveal that Carrera is a trans woman and go, "Haha, you like a trans woman."
As problematic as it may seem that Carrera would participate as a prop in a joke whose punchline is her gender identity, this is not what she takes exception to — after all, you can see that she is aware and willing in the clip above. She's mad that during an interview, Valastro says, "That's a man, baby." And it's not the dated nature of the Austin Powers reference that has her so worked up.
Here's a sample of several Facebook posts Carrera unleashed after the episode aired:
Im so upset right now, I cant stop crying. My heart truly hurts. I need people to understand that I KNOW I was born male and not ashamed of it. I wouldn't of cared if they said I was born male or USED TO BE male. By calling me a 'MAN' promotes ignorance and makes it ok to call transgender women, men. PEOPLE GET BULLIED, BEAT UP, AND KILLED FOR BEING TRANS BECAUSE OF THIS IGNORANCE! There was a time it was like that for gay people, even for some ethnic groups. Its not ok to call a gay person a fag, its not ok to call a spanish person a spic, its not ok to call a black person a nigger. THIS IS THE SAME TYPE OF THING. I made it VERY clear to the producers on how to use the correct wording before agreeing to filming this but instead they chose to poke fun and be disrespectful. Thats not what Im about! Please voice your opinion.
Carrera says she "signed on to do this episode of Cake Boss to promote EQUALITY" and that she didn't expect the reveal to be handled in such a tabloid-TV way (although how else it could have been done is a total mystery). She's created a petition on change.org to urge TLC to apologize.
Thing is, Carrera set herself up to be the butt of the joke and the good-natured response seen on the episode was actually kind of encouraging. No one pretended like they were vomiting, no one pulled a Begbie (sorry that clip is in Italian). The televised response seemed almost enlightened and certainly peaceful. Contrast that with Cousin Anthony's reaction on Twitter, in which he referred to Carrera as "it" (that tweet has since been deleted but I snapped it). Pretty disgusting and it suggests that he was edited kindly on the episode.
It's understandable that Carrera doesn't want to be called a man, since she isn't one, and that particular joke does read as tone deaf. If her effort gets more people to understand the nuances (or even a nuance) of transgenderism, it's worth it. But maybe next time don't participate in an obvious setup for ridicule?
Update: Cousin Anthony is atoning. He just tweeted, "Hi all, I appologize for my ignorance. @carmen_carrera is a beautiful woman & i respect her greatly. no harm intended. My apologies"