Can Roseanne Support Both Her Gender-Fluid Grandson & Trump?

Roseanne is back, and from the first few episodes of the reboot, it seems that not much has changed in the lives of the Conners — especially the dynamic between Roseanne and her sister, Jackie. Just a few minutes into the new show, we learn that Roseanne and Jackie, who were often squabbling in the original, haven't spoken to each other in a year. This time, their argument is about the 2016 election.
The show never outright states that Roseanne voted for President Trump, but it's clear from context clues: Jackie comes in wearing a pussy hat and a "Nasty Woman" shirt (just to piss off Roseanne), and Roseanne ends the family's dinner prayer with "Make America great again" (just to piss of Jackie).
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It's funny, until you take into account the Conners' gender-fluid grandson, Mark. Roseanne and her husband Dan love this little boy, who dresses in "girls'" clothing and paints his nails. In the second episode, "Dress To Impress,” they learn to support him, as well, after learning that wearing "colors that pop" makes Mark feel like himself. But, the episode has many people wondering: How can the Conners accept their gender non-conforming grandson and simultaneously support an administration that has repeatedly attacked transgender rights?
It's complicated, but it's also very real. Plenty of LGBTQ+ people who have conservative families will recognize this kind of selective liberalism because they've seen it from their own loved ones.
Actor and producer Emerson Collins called out the contradiction in a tweet, calling it the "But You're Special" syndrome. "Our families grow to accept our queerness or identity because they love us and we’re 'special' to them. They don’t say it, but it’s there that they mean 'you’re not like those other queers,'" he says. "It’s a compromise that involves mental gymnastic on their part to accept us."
Yet, Lou Weaver, transgender programs coordinator at Equality Texas, describes the phenomenon less as mental gymnastics and more as willful ignorance. "We don't see ourselves as part of the problem," he says. "So Roseanne's character might not see what supporting Trump will do to the future of her grandson."
Instead, people like Roseanne might choose to focus on what they expect the Trump administration will do to make their lives better. "There are so many politics he talks about. Building the wall, making American great, protecting your jobs," Weaver says. "People want the 'hope' he's spouting." Believing in that hope allows them to ignore situations when the Trump administration's policies would impact the lives of their loved ones or the greater LGBTQ+ community. Instead, they focus on accepting and supporting their loved one, and believe that's enough to be a good ally.
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"For them, our individual journey is not related to any larger context. They don’t see the hypocrisy when they want to ensure conservative judges get appointed, or support a virulently anti-LGBTQ administration because they want lower taxes or help for small businesses or 'believe in personal responsibility,'" Collins tweeted.
Like Roseanne and Dan, many families of LGBTQ+ people choose to support and love their queer or gender non-conforming loved ones because that's what family does. They might think, you're different because you're part of my family and I have to protect my own, Weaver says. When it comes down to the nitty gritty, someone who supports transphobic and homophobic policies cannot be a true ally to the LGBTQ+ community.
"If you say you're being supportive of me, but that you're still voting for Trump, then you're not supporting me," Weaver says. "It's not possible." Hopefully, we'll begin to see Roseanne wrestle with that idea as the show continues.
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