Piers Morgan was left aghast on his CNN program on Wednesday over "being viciously abused by the transgender community," in his words, over an interview he conducted with Janet Mock the previous evening. Mock, who claims transgendered status, expressed outrage on Twitter over the way Morgan handled the LGBT issue, which led to the CNN host receiving a "firestorm" of criticism from left-wing activists online.
Morgan brought Mock back on for a second interview, and repeatedly whined that he shouldn't have been "vilified" by the supporters of the author (whose book is titled "Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More") because he has been an "open supporter" of the LGBT activists' agenda: [MP3 audio available here; video below]
PIERS MORGAN: I have spent an infuriating 24 hours – and I want you to explain why I've had to go through this because – let me start from this premise. I have always been 100 percent supportive of all gay rights, gay marriage rights, transgender rights. In fact, I want equality for everyone in America and around the world. That's always been my position. Anyone who watches this show knows that's exactly what I've always stood for.
I had you on the show. You had – you wrote a very powerful book. I did nothing but laud your courage. I said you're a fantastic person to be out there – center stage – sending the message that there's no need to stigmatize transgender people. I called you a woman throughout the interview. I never disputed the fact that you're a woman. And yet today, I have spent literally 12 hours being viciously abused by the transgender community – egged on by your own Tweeting last night – that you were somehow very dismayed by the way the interview had gone.
After leading the second interview with this complaint, the CNN host asked his guest to "explain to me why you didn't say anything during the interview; why you seemed quite happy with it afterwards; why you then felt the need to Tweet quite hostile Tweets in my direction; which then sparked this furor amongst the transgender community, because I feel pretty peeved about it?"
Mock replied, "Well, I'm sorry that you feel offended. I think that people in the trans community feel equally as offended." The author then explained, in part, that "one of the number-one things with trans-women specifically is that so much of our lives are open to dissection and illegitimacy and investigation....and these are issues that I think that we need to give trans people space to tell their own stories."
Morgan blasted back, "But that's exactly why I had you on the show! That's why I promoted your book. That's why I told everybody to go and read the damn thing! So, I ask you again, why I have been vilified for being transparently supportive of you? I don't get it." The guest retorted, "Maybe you don't get it because you're not a trans-woman." This lead to an exchange between the two over what the British TV personality supposedly did wrong in the first interview, and why Mock didn't raise an objection at the time:
MORGAN: Explain to me what I did wrong. What did I do wrong?
MOCK: You called – so before commercial break, we had a lovely conversation. And then, all of a sudden, you said, 'who was formerly a man.' I was a baby. I was assigned male gender because of the parents – of my genitals. As I grew up, I discovered my girlhood; I discovered my womanhood; and I proclaimed and defined myself for myself. As Audre Lorde says, if we do not define ourselves for-
MORGAN: Why didn't you correct me at the time? Why you didn't correct me?
MOCK: I did not because I was scared-
MORGAN: Did you feel that strongly?
MOCK: I did not because I was scared-
MORGAN: Scared of what? Scared of what?
MOCK: And I wanted to be a cordial guest, and I think that that was probably incorrect of me. I wanted to be kind. I wanted to be generous, because I was appreciative of having two segments on a mainstream show. It was my first major appearance, as a young trans-woman, who wrote her first book.
Later in the segment, the CNN host again tried to get the author to explain what he did wrong in describing the trans-gender process. Mock answered with politicized gender theory:
MORGAN: ...Explain to me why it is so offensive for somebody like you, who grew up a boy until you were into your teenage years – and your family treated you as a boy and you were biologically a boy – that you then have gender reassignment surgery and you become a woman – and you've always felt you're a woman. As I said right of the top last night, you have always felt inside you that you are female. And I did not dispute that at all and I don't dispute it to you now, and I have absolute respect for you believing that has always being your gender. But I also believe that the phrase 'gender reassignment' means that you had a sex change operation. It means that you go from male to female or female to male. That is the legal definition of gender reassignment. So I need to learn-
MOCK: I think that gender is a lot more complex than that-
MORGAN: Well, let me ask you the question; let me ask you the question; let me ask you the question. The question is – here's what I want to learn, because I don't want this to be an ongoing issue that I have with the community in which you are such a great spokesman and advocate. I want to learn why it is so offensive to actually just say that you grew up as a boy, and you then – because you've always felt that you were female – you had surgery to become a woman – to become a real woman, as you say in the book. Why is it offensive?
MOCK: I think that we need to have a discussion about what gender is, and gender expectations in our culture. I think that we are born and we're assigned a sex at birth. That is a matter none of us have control over, but we do have control over our destinies and over our identities. And we should be respected – it's not about the path; it's not about what surgeries I may or may not have had. It's not about how I disclose my gender to people. It's about who I am right now....
MORGAN: How does it help you, Janet, that somebody like me, who has been such an open supporter of the community that you represent so well and so publicly – that you target me for what you knew would be a lot of abuse that then followed – you did. The Tweets last night ignited a firestorm of abuse and vilification my way, because you said I had sensationalized your story.
Near the end of the interview, Morgan laughingly asserted that he didn't mind the negative attention, even after voicing multiple complaints throughout the segment:
MORGAN: ...I think my complaint about what you did with those Tweets is that – A, you never raised any of these as an issue during the interview why repeatedly referred to you as having been male before. You never picked me up or showed any sign of irritation. And I think that I just felt that you threw me to the wolves there. And, by the way, I don't mind. I'm a big boy. I can take it. I can take being vilified by anybody. I don't mind being vilified. I get it everyday from people who support the lack of gun control in America, right?
However – however, I do think it was a little unfair that you sparked off this firestorm of abuse to me, when I am a supporter of your community, and always have been. And I think it doesn't do you or your community any good service to try and make people like me the enemy and the target of abuse. And you've read the tweets – you know what I'm talking about – when actually, I'm on your side.