Transphobes aren’t allowed in this world nor outside of this one. Former champion cyclist and current member of Stars on Mars Lance Armstrong found out the hard way.
Stars on Mars brings together a ragtag bunch of celebrities to partake in a simulation of life on the big red planet Mars. The cast includes Armstrong, pop star Tinashe, UFC fighter and Olympian Ronda Rousey, Modern Family’s Ariel Winter, ice skating Olympian Adam Rippon, Real Housewives of Altanta’s Porscha Williams, Vanderpump Rules’ Tom Schwartz, actress Tallulah Willis, comedian Natasha Leggero, Superbad’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and the NFL’s Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch (who’ll appear in the upcoming queer Fight Club-esque Bottoms). Hosted by Star Trek’s William Shatner, the motley crew live together and perform simulated missions in a base camp, located in Australia, where after each task a contestant is eliminated. Well, in the latest episode of Fox’s Stars on Mars, it’s pretty evident who’ll be on the chopping block next.
A clip from an upcoming episode shows Armstrong sharing his seemingly unsolicited two cents on trans people in sports with castmate Rousey. The former cyclist talked about being asked his opinions on transgender people competing in sports on a podcast, to which he says, “I said, ‘Listen, this is real simple: You want to transition, let’s do it. You have your own category,'” he says. “‘We’re gonna have a whole new division. We’ll celebrate you just like we celebrate everybody else. Let’s go.’ What’s unfair about that?”
There’s a lot wrong with that, Armstrong, but his castmates were quick to inform him of his misstep. Tinashe responded with, “To me, I think we just have to care about if you otherize people. It’s not good for their mental health.” The musician further explained that what Armstrong described was essentially a way for athletic organizations to stigmatize trans people and “exclude them from the same spaces and places that everyone else” reside in.
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Armstrong felt the need to defend his transphobia, responding with, “Actually, no, we’re not excluding anybody. And, by the way, I sound like a right-wing lunatic. I’m not. I’m the most liberal person, but from a sporting perspective…”
While Armstrong trailed off into space, and hopefully forever, Winter cut in to emphasize that Armstrong was “ostracizing the people who don’t fit in the categories” he’s tried to set. The clip also shows Rippon and Tinashe discussing Armstrong in their confessionals. The pop star stated how she wasn’t “shocked” by his opinions and that he shouldn’t be the spokesperson for trans issues. Whereas the Olympian proclaimed that Armstrong’s comments completely shifted the energy” in the base camp and that he wouldn’t forget them.
Interestingly enough, Armstong is as unforgettable as his transphobic comments. Armstrong was a famed cyclist, known for winning seven Tour de France cycling competitions and an Olympic bronze medal. But in 2012, he became known for losing those accolades and for his lifetime ban from professional cycling after it was determined by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that he used and trafficked banned performance-enhancing drugs. A year later, he owned up to his misgiving in an interview with media mogul Oprah Winfrey, after denying the claims for years.
Apparently, he also thinks he’s an expert on the topic of trans people in sports. On June 24, he tweeted out a clip to promote his conversation with Olympian Caitlyn Jenner on the topic. He captioned the tweet with, “Have we really come to a time and place where spirited debate is not only frowned upon, but feared? Where people’s greatest concern is being fired, shamed or cancelled? As someone all too familiar with this phenomenon, I feel I’m uniquely positioned to have these conversations.”
The cherry on top is that he dedicated a series of episodes from his podcast, The Forward, towards the topic, where he debates if trans people have an edge in sports. Ironically, he’s in no way, shape, or form to approach the topic when he famously was caught for cheating in cycling.
Armstrong should learn to not throw stones in glass houses and to keep his transphobic comments to himself. But after this conversation with his cast members, we’re sure his days are numbered on Stars on Mars.