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Octogenarian sings ode to transphobia on America's Got Talent

Octogenarian sings ode to transphobia on America's Got Talent

LAST UPDATED // Saturday, 05 July 2014 03:45 Written by // Andrew Shaw

An octogenarian contestant on America’s Got Talent has been criticised for performing a transphobic song he wrote.

Eighty-four-year-old Ray Jessel’s performance was screened on Tuesday with a song titled ‘What She’s Got’.

The song begins: “I met this girl, and she’s just great, this girl I just adore. The problem is, she has much more than I had bargained for.”

It continues: “There’s just one thing: she’s got a penis.”

Jessel sang that “there’s always some failure, always some flaw” before concluding: “My life’s a mess, because under that dress she’s got a P-E-N-I-S.”

Jessel was voted through by the judges, former Spice Girl Mel B, praising him for being “a naughty, funny, dirty old man”.

Viewers took to Twitter after the show had aired to assess the impact the song had on the trans community. One viewer tweeted:

“Sad that there were probably closeted trans kids watching in horror as their parents laughed at this transphobia. Been there @nbcagt @glaad”

Another wrote:

“Someone goes on America's Got Talent, and sings this song about how shameful it is to be/be with a trans woman and America cheers. Lovely.”

Watch the video here

[Image] Ray Jessel on America's Got Talent.


Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw is editor of Queensland Pride.

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