Here’s Why a Philly Restaurant Shouldn’t Joke About Caitlyn Jenner


If you’ve ever walked down 19th Street between Chestnut and Market, chances are you’ve passed Smith’s Restaurant and noticed the quotes that they have displayed on a chalkboard. They’re usually pretty tongue-in-cheek and worth a quick chuckle.

However, one of my Philly Mag colleagues sent me a picture of the quote they had on display yesterday morning:

Jenner sign

In case the sun glare makes it hard to read, the chalkboard states, “If Bruce Jenner goes missing will his picture be on a carton of Half and Half ?!”

I shouldn’t have to go into a lot of detail about why this would be deeply offensive to the trans community: Besides misgendering Jenner, the joke seems pretty poorly played, almost oblivious to the struggles of trans individuals, especially those who often go missing and end up killed, whose faces clearly don’t end up on the side of a milk carton. It’s insensitive at best, downright awful at worst.

And the “half-and-half” bit opens up a whole other level of unnecessary humor, suggesting that being trans means a person is only half a woman or a half a man. It’s the wrong message that our city needs to be displaying during the Papal visit with thousands of folks descending upon Philadelphia.

I know we are living in a “Trump culture” that might be getting sick and tired of political correctness, but there is no reason to even go there with this type of humor. Why? What was the point of this, besides to get a handful of people to laugh at the expense of others? It’s just not needed (I tried reaching out to Smith’s to ask them these questions, and as of this publication, I’ve not heard back, plus I’ve been told by passersby that the quote has been pulled).

But the restaurant is not alone: I am sure there are plenty of other folks who are would make this kind of joke without even thinking twice. I’d encourage them to do their homework: Read about what’s happening with trans folks and realize that they, just like any type of people, aren’t something to be made fun of.

UPDATE: Thanks to Philadelphia’s Director of LGBT Affairs, this has turned into a teachable moment. Read our story here.