Earlier this week, a Winnipeg radio show host was fired after making a series of offensive comments about the trans community.
Dave Wheeler, the former host of CITI FM's Mornings with Wheeler, debated Scarlett Johansson's controversial casting as Dante 'Tex' Gill with a series of LGBT+ activists, all of whom felt the role should have gone to a trans man.
Johansson's initial decision to accept the role was met with enormous backlash online; she has since stepped down and released a lengthy statement explaining her decision.
Wheeler claimed to be "confused" by the controversy and by the trans community more generally. According to CBC News, he said:
I am so confused by the whole transgender community. I mean literally, there is nothing you can do to make them happy.
People act and pretend to be different things. Kinda like what you're doing! Really! In the grand scheme of things.
The situation quickly became tense, with co-hosts expressing discomfort at his words. He continued, ending his rant with:
What a bunch of snowflakes.
Online controversy ensued, but the worst of his comments were made after the broadcast in a series of Facebook messages which have since gone viral. The first set was posted to Facebook by a user named Logan Jax, whose initial attempt to upload the screenshots was blocked by the social media site.
In the messages, Wheeler explains that he is “not transphobic” and happily supports anybody choosing to “jump ship from one gender to another.” His concerns, he says, stem from a “grey area” created by trans people who choose not to undergo gender confirmation surgery.
This, he says, “is just playing pretend to their genetic make-up”.
To clarify, there is no one universal way to be trans: some people choose to undergo gender confirmation surgery, others don't. Furthermore, some people don't identify within the gender binary at all but may still identify as trans – it's possible to be trans and non-binary, or trans and gender non-conforming.
These weren't the worst of Wheeler's comments.
Another series of screenshots were then posted to Twitter, depicting messages in which he doubled down on his stance by comparing trans people to dogs:
If someone is born human and and they pretend to be a dog, it is not right to agree with them for the sake of their feelings.
Incidentally, the host has also been the subject of controversy in the past after YouTube videos in which he appeared were deemed both racist and sexist. His latest comments also saw a number of advertisers withdraw funding from the show, sending a clear message that transphobia will no longer be tolerated.