After announcing that Kimberly Ray and Berry Beck, hosts of the 'Breakfast Buzz' show on 98.9 The Buzz, were terminated for their transphobic comments, Entercom Rochester took steps to provide proper information about transgender people and access to health care. The Buzz invited Laine and Maur Delaney to the station to talk about transgender people living in Rochester. Laine is the president of the Trans Alliance of Greater Rochester, and Maur is the founder of Genesee Valley Gender Variants.
— 98.9 The Buzz (@989thebuzz) May 23, 2014
The Buzz on-air personality, Justine, asked both about misunderstanding of transgender people, but also focused on the news that Rochester's health insurance would cover transgender-related health care. It was this news about health care that prompted the transphobic comments from Ray and Beck. Maur shared, based on his previous work in the insurance industry, that there was no additional cost to the city to provide the health care. Laine shared that all the major medical and psychological associations have deemed transgender heath care as safe and medically necessary.
At the end of the interview, Laine also provides information about transgender people and healthcare at www.glaad.org/healthcare.
Since Ray and Beck's transphobic comments, GLAAD has been in touch with The Buzz to address the situation. The station took quick and decisive action in suspending and then terminating the hosts, but also expressed a desire to support the transgender community by providing a forum for fair and accurate transgender information. The interview with Laine and Maur is another step in that process, highlighting local transgender organizations, including the Trans Alliance of Greater Rochester and Genesee Valley Gender Variants.
According to WHEC-NBC in Rochester, Kimberly and Beck have also issued an apology:
We are very sorry for the hurt and pain we have caused anyone, especially those in the Transgender community and their friends and families. What we said and the manner in which we handled ourselves was wrong, we take full responsibility and we deeply apologize to any and all that we offended.
Our attempt was to discuss a controversial healthcare issue; however our lack of sensitivity and understanding of the Transgender people and their plight created 12 minutes of radio we that wish we could take back.
We fully understand Entercom's position and their decision to dismiss us. It is their right and we accept their decision and our responsibility in it. Entercom has been and will continue to be a strong advocate for the LGBT community and we are proud to have been helpful in Entercom's efforts over our 13 years with the company.
It is our hope that this situation can be a time of learning and understanding about the Transgender community and not a time for additional anger and insensitivity. This is a community of individuals that struggle painfully to be themselves and find the support and comfort they deserve. We believe that this can be a chance for all of us to stop the ignorance and find our humanity.