Already, Two Bachelorette Contestants Have Made Transphobic Jokes

Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC.
Yesterday, ABC announced the 31 men who will vie for Rachel Lindsay's heart on the 13th season of The Bachelorette, premiering next week. These contestant announcements tend to bring with them slew of oddities — fun facts and bizarre job titles for us to puzzle over until the season actually starts. (Let us not forget the famous "aspiring dolphin trainer" we met during season 22 of The Bachelor.) This year, we have a "tickle monster" and one man whose occupation is curiously listed only as "whaboom." We also have a couple troubling instances of transphobia. In their accompanying bios, two contestants provided answers that were more than a little problematic.
When asked for his worst fear on a first date, Bryce, a 30-year-old firefighter (pictured above), answered: "The chick is actually a dude." This is transphobia at its most obvious — a fear of trans people often manifests itself as fear of "betrayal," the idea being that someone living as a different gender than they were assigned at birth would be considered a deception to cisgender people.
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The second instance involves Caitlyn Jenner, one of the most high-profile trans women in America. Contestant Lucas, the aforementioned "whaboom," was asked what person he'd like to have lunch with, dead or alive. His answer? Bruce Jenner and Caitlyn Jenner.
"Dead: Bruce Jenner, Alive: Caitlyn Jenner... Would be a very interesting convo," he answered. This statement isn't as overtly transphobic as Bryce's, but the fact remains that A. Lucas considers Bruce Jenner to be dead, which implies that Caitlyn Jenner killed her cisgendered persona and B. Lucas is fetishizing the experience of a trans woman. I'd like to think that Lucas wants to talk to Caitlyn Jenner in an effort to understand the trans experience. But I can't help but think that's not the case.
The worst part is that this isn't entirely unexpected. Gather 31 (presumably) heterosexual men in one place, and toxic masculinity is very likely to rear its ugly head. So, with the season not yet underway, The Bachelorette has two contestants with some problematic things to say. Sigh. Why'd these two have to spoil the party? The questions weren't even that hard-hitting! Worst first-date fear? Just say "bad breath" and call it a day! Person you want to have lunch with? Easy: Barack Obama.
Luckily for Rachel Lindsay, there are 29 other contestants, some of whom have some pretty damn delightful bios. (Demario, I'm looking at you.) Here's hoping Bryce and Lucas the "whaboom" don't last longer than Monday's premiere.
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