Photo: Dave Wheeler / Facebook
A Canadian radio host has been fired after saying that transgender people do not exist until their surgery is complete.
Dave Wheeler, the former host of 92.1 CITI FM’s Wheeler in the morning in Winnipeg, Manitoba, included a segment on his show discussing Scarlett Johansson exiting Rub & Tug after facing backlash for playing a transgender man.
Wheeler drew a comparison on Monday between actors who “pretend to be different things” and trans people. These controversial remarks offended Twitter user Maie Lynn enough to reach out to Wheeler over Facebook Messenger, telling him that “being hateful has consequences.”
Wheeler responded by comparing transgender people to dogs and saying that trans people do not exist.
“If someone is born a human. And they pretend to be a dog. It is not right to agree with them for the sake of their feelings,” he said, adding, “There is no ‘trans.’ You’re either a male, or a female. If you decide to change from one to the other, that’s fine. I have no issue. But once you leave that gender behind, you are no longer trans. Until the surgery is complete, you are still a male… or a female. The only transition that happens is on the table. Until that happens, it’s pretending to be something your not.”
He continued: “I’m not allowed to be a 6’4” Asian person. If I claimed to be, no one would agree with me. So why is it ok for someone to play pretend and we add to the disillusion. There is male, and female. People can make the switch… but there is no ‘trans’. It’s a made up word to defend people’s dysphoria and make it acceptable?”
Lynn posted screenshots of their conversation as a “demonstration of his ignorance and stupidity,” and called Wheeler a “piece of shit.”
Rogers Media released a statement to CBC on Wednesday confirming Wheeler’s termination “effective immediately.”
“There have been multiple disciplinary incidents, and in spite of numerous conversations, he has continued to offend our audiences,” spokesperson Andrea Goldstein wrote. “As a result, we have ended our relationship with him and he is no longer with the company.”
Wheeler’s Facebook and Twitter have been inactive since his firing.
Jonathan Niemczak, president of Pride Winnipeg, said that Wheeler’s freedom of speech is not the main concern, as his words could have drastic effects on any LGBTQ listeners.
“I’m not talking about they’re going to have a bad day or they’re going to be pissed off. I’m talking death, I’m talking suicide. That is what those type of comments lead to,” he said. “And people need to understand, when you make those type of comments, that is where it’s no longer an opinion. When you are making those type of comments where you can affect someone’s life to the point where they’re just likely to end it, you have now entered into the territory of oppressive speech.”
Wheeler had previously been suspended from the station in 2016 and received internet backlash after he posted song parodies on his website that many deemed to be sexist and racist.