Earlier today, Lil B tweeted the joke: "might start saying I'm trans and I'm a woman so I can be in the girls Locker room with the ladies !!!!!! No homo I'm still growin - Lil B"
It’s a base, unfunny joke at best and one that disconsiders the discrimination that American trans women face, even in "locker rooms". This year, a nutjob Republican from Florida proposed banning trans people from bathrooms that don‘t match the gender that they were assigned at birth. If this law was to ever go through, Lil B’s joke would no longer even work factually.
After a fierce backlash, Lil B quickly accepted he was wrong but didn’t delete the tweet. Instead, in a stream of self-conscious consciousness, he confessed that the idea of transitioning did make him feel uncomfortable but that he was keen to be educated and put forward the theory that his problems with acceptance were down to his own insecurities.
I'm still growing and this new science is very new to me this surgery stuff from man to women is different but I'm I respect humans - Lil B
Lil B is a prolific tweeter and avid follower of other people’s accounts. He follows 1.26 million people and has amassed 141,000 tweets since opening his account in 2009. Clearly, he views it as the platform to air his views.
Often Twitter is accused of being an echo chamber, a place where nothing really happens. Social media activism has its detractors (often they’re right), but this incident is a snapshot of how the internet can be (and is) used to effect change. Lil B, one of the world’s most famous rappers posted a joke that many found distasteful and deplorable. After criticism he confessed he wanted help understanding and duly received it.
One account explained "transitioning" to him, saying: "the term is called "transitioning" and it's the process of someone who was assigned one gender at birth changing 2 another". Lil B replied "thank you".
While not defending his original joke or admissions of transphobia, it feels there’s something good in all of this.