Washington Post Deals With Backlash Over Transphobic Comic by Syndicate Comic Mark Lester

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Sam Stone

The photo below was created by Washington Post syndicate comic Mark Lester. The photo drew some controversy of its content and the punch-line that went over a few people’s heads.

The punch-line relates to the played-out joke of how a trans woman tricks straight men by looking beautiful. She attracts them just to be what they didn’t want–having a penis (or to say in a┬ádistasteful manner, they’re actually a man). The Mueller report is seen as ultimately not what Trump critics wanted, as there was no conviction of Russian collusion as people were hoping. The Mueller case was seen as this possibility for impeachment and drew excitement for the left.

This drew criticism with its insensitivity and being quite humorless. The Washington Post eventually released an apology in form of a Reddit post on the subreddit r/transgender.

 

 

 

 

The receiving of this apology was mixed. People first vilified their choice of platform and action. It was a comment on a thread, buried within the 244 comments on the single thread of the comic and the caption “1999 you’d expect this shit, but 2019? For shame, Washington Post” published on the 28th of March.

Some critiqued saying that Lester did not fit into the Washington Post’s own policies and standards, but yet he was on their syndicate page and thus they are publishing his work. Looking into the policies, arguably Lester has not violated any (the idea os violating their section considering taste as the overt sexual implications of its illustration can be possibly perceived as obscene). This is an opinionated issue, of course, but seen rather uncouth by society’s standards.

Looking at Lester’s work, one can see in his watermark, a tagging of the washingtonpost.com. As well, one can find this specific comic on their syndicate page along with several recent works of Lester that could be seen as distasteful and possibly offensive. Another one including a similar subject matter of the joke: a trans woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The comic was to address the recent debate under should transgender people compete against those who are the same gender as them or as the same birth sex. A harsh criticism being that trans-women are at a supposed advantage due to being originally male. Lester’s depiction makes a caricature of a trans-woman, making it seem as they only men in drag instead of women actively seeking medical transition.

The same idea is what is in Lester’s recent drawing that has drawn some fire towards the Post.

The issue at hand had many factors that make there seemingly be no resolution. The Post arguably needs to find a better means to apologize and take possession of this as he may not be a full-time comic for the Post, they publish his works and have continued to.