If Jeffrey Toobin Was a Trans Woman…

He’d be banished from public life forever. Instead, media men are imploring for forgiveness.

Katelyn Burns


(Credit: Mychal Watts/Getty Images)

New Yorker staff writer Jeffrey Toobin was suspended Monday for allegedly masturbating on camera during an election-related Zoom call, according to a VICE report. The details of the incident quickly caught the attention of social media users, who immediately mocked the journalist and CNN legal analyst.

Toobin’s excuse was that he didn’t realize that his camera was on and he could be seen by his New Yorker colleagues, without acknowledging that he probably should have at least waited for non-work time to whip out his hog.

“I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers,” Toobin told Motherboard. “I believed I was not visible on Zoom. I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me. I thought I had muted the Zoom video.”

Despite the social media mockery over Toobin’s suspension, some of his media colleagues took to his defense in an amazing display of male solidarity, pleading for forgiveness for a bumbling man who simply misunderstood technology and exhibited some poor judgment.

The actions of men like Toobin, at this point, are unsurprising to any woman who makes her way through the world. We’re subject to unwanted dick displays in just about any context of life these days. Not counting dick pics in Twitter DMs, I was exposed to my first unwanted dick on a DC Metro ride that I mistakenly thought was safe at 10 pm.

I was the only woman in the car and a man kept hissing for the “pretty lady” to look his way. I knew what was happening immediately and kept my eyes locked on my phone until I reached the next station, where I quickly changed cars. Nonetheless, I could still hear his labored breathing and muffled moans from 5 feet away.

That aside, I want to ask a hypothetical about Toobin and his male media defenders. What if Toobin had been caught doing the same thing, but he was a trans woman?

Besides the fact that there are no trans people of Toobin’s stature in media, the answer is he’d be instantly deleted from public life, and his actions would be cast upon…



Katelyn Burns

Political journalist. The first openly trans Capitol Hill reporter in US history. Writing about more than just trans issues. Follow her on Twitter @transscribe