“Glee” has no doubt been a groundbreaking show when it comes to its gay characters. The show has also done a bang up job of putting transgender characters at the forefront of primetime television thanks to actor Alex Newell. Newell, plays transgender teen Wade “Unique” Adams. Although many have applauded Newell’s character, conservative Fox News host Bill O’Reilly recently blasted the show for promoting trans equality. Now, Newell is speaking out against O’Reilly and his transphobic comments.
During a broadcast last year, O’Reilly spoke about the character of Unique and claimed that having her on “Glee” will “confuse” teens who are unsure about their gender and sexuality and potentially lead them down the path of, ahem, not being cisgender (someone whose gender matches their sex) and heterosexual.
“If you make it glamorous in a program like ‘Glee,’ which is undeniably a good program…a lot of these dopey kids are confused about who they are.” he said last year after Newell’s character was introduced.
During a recent interview with Fusion, Newell addressed O’Reilly’s comments and chastised the news host for offending the trans community and all of the “dopey” kids of the world.
“It’s wrong to call people dopey,” Newell said. “When it’s something this poignant and such a big part of the society, you can’t call kids dopey because this is something that they’re actually going through, this is what they feel on the inside, there’s nothing dopey about it.”
Newell also addressed rumors that he is transgender, just like his character. Although Newell admits to enjoying playing with fashion and wearing heels, he explains that he isn’t himself a member of the trans community.
“Some people don’t understand that I do play a character,” he said. “I must be doing it well if they really think that I’m living my character’s life.”
We applaud Newell for handling O’Reilly’s comments with such a well-rounded sense of equality and fairness for all. It’s unfortunate that O’Reilly doesn’t realize that his rigid and outdated views on gender and sexuality are what would really screw with a young kid’s identity as opposed to letting them see a proud representative of themselves and their feelings on TV.
Check out some real transgender trailblazers after the cut. – nicholas robinson