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Katie Couric 'private parts' curiousity leads to inaccurate disclosure

Katie Couric is guilty of expressing a normal curiosity about the actual body parts beneath the clothes of transgender personalities Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera when she spoke with them on her talk show this week. But the Huffington Post reported on Jan. 11 that the "Katie" host had an "unfortunate line of questioning" that was invasive and ignorant when it came to transgender issues.

Katie Couric gave transgenders Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera a chance to talk about their private lives but they drew the line at "private parts" talk.
Ethan Miller of Getty Images
Katie Couric takes heat for asking a transgender woman if she is a man or a woman without clothes on.
Stephen Lovekin of Getty Images

Careers, experiences and upcoming projects was supposed to be the topic of conversation between Couric and her two guests, "RuPaul's Drag Race" star Carmen Carrera and "Orange is the New Black" star Laverne Cox. But Couric wanted to know whether men who dressed as women--and looked so much like them on the outside--had went to the trouble to have the surgeries that would make them women physically in appearance when their clothes were off.

Both transgender guests were deeply offended by the question for some reason, with Cox having this to say as a result:

There is a preoccupation with that [transgender surgery]. The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people," Cox said. "And then we don't get to deal with the real lived experiences."

Real lived experiences includes such things as surgeries one has, right? So Couric was being a normal talk show host by asking questions her audience would definitely be curious about and want to know. So why the unwillingness by the transgender guests to discuss the obvious elephant in the room? Do you have female private parts or male ones?

Laverne Cox told Katie Couric that "the reality of trans people's lives is that so often we're targets of violence, the Post reported.

We experience violence disproportionately to the rest of the community," the entertainment industry star said, as way of explaining why they didn't want to talk about their private parts.

The FBI does not have any statistical data to support that transgender persons suffer a greater violent threat than their heterosexual counterpart just because they have a different sexual orientation. In fact, it is just the opposite according to the annual crime reports released by the federal agency last year. The FBI report for 2012 revealed that only 1,376 sexual orientation victims were reported as crime victims.

That means that of all hate crimes and crimes of violence in America, only 19.2 percent of victims were targeted due to a specific bias against their sexual orientation. Compare that to the 48.5 percent of hate crimes committed in the U.S. which are the result of bias against someone's race. And the 18.7 percent of violence victims suffer due to a religious bias.

Therefore, it is unclear where the transgender model is getting her inaccurate information about violence against the transgender community. She did cite the case of Islan Nettles, who was a transgender woman assaulted in Harlan this year, and who later died. But that is just one case. And what about the case of little Myls Dobson, the 4-year-old boy who is believed to have been killed by his father's transgender girlfriend Janaie Jones, who worked under the stage name of Krazie King? Can't transgender crimes of violence go both ways?

And how can Couric offer the transgender community a platform to discuss their personal lives, as they want, but exclude discussions of their "private parts," which is a key component of their lives?

Katie Couric sought to help her audience of mixed sexual orientations better understand the transgender community. But her forthright question was not welcomed by her guests and now the celebrity talk show host is dealing with that fallout from angry supporters of Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox. And that may be part of the reason it was announced this week that "Katie" will not be entering into a fourth season on CBS, according to the Spectrum.

It isn't the only reason, as it was announced last year that she would be joining Yahoo. But it can't have helped that the talk show host is now fielding angry comments about her inquisitive nature regarding transgenders, when she gave two of them a national stage to talk about their lives in an open and honest manner. And Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera gave it a pass.

Atlanta Top News Examiner Radell Smith has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics.

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