ALOK is featured, along with six other LGBTQ+ comics, on "Hannah Gadsby's Gender Agenda" Source: Netflix

Review: Hannah Gadsby's 'Gender Agenda' A Clapback to Dave Chappelle's Anti-Trans Comedy

Karin McKie READ TIME: 2 MIN.

Hannah Gadsby (they/them) brought their latest standup offering "Something Special" to Netflix last May. But they also have something to say about a fellow juggernaut Netflix comedian: Dave Chappelle. They responded to Chappelle's anti-trans stances in his specials by hosting "Hannah Gadsby's Gender Agenda," an exuberant showcase of seven non-binary comedians. They also recalled getting into a kerfuffle on Twitter – "I will dead name that chum bucket," Gadsby said – which amped up the tense real-life situation on social media.

Filmed at London's Alexandra Palace Theatre, what Gadsby calls the "Ally Pally," the 75-minute special features them offering witty interstitials to the massive, enthusiastic crowd. Gadsby starts with the show's origin story. "Netflix released a transphobic special by one of their favorite edge lords," they recalled, so now they are gladly biting the hand that feeds them with this assemblage. Netflix, which Gadsby calls "an amoral algorithm cult," might be a corporate entity that "doesn't really like their queer kids, like most families." This performance is the clap-back to Chappelle, as a "carbon offset show."

The first comedian is Jes Tom, a half-Japanese/half-Chinese trans performer from San Francisco. They've written for Max's "Our Flag Means Death" and performed the solo show "Less Lonely" off-Broadway, which was produced by Elliot Page. Tom has been on testosterone for four years, becoming "a lesbian who's attracted to men," someone in their "dyke-to-fag era." Chloe Petts is a self-described "Brit masculine lesbian," and shares lively stories about being "the leader of children" at weddings, trying to be vegetarian, and the benefits of male privilege when one is male-appearing.

Asha Ward is from a Trinidadian family in Baltimore and attended Chicago's Columbia College before moving to NYC. She received an Emmy nomination as the youngest-ever SNL writer. She started her set acknowledging she was "too high" for such a large crowd. DeAnne Smith asked the audience why Russians hate gays since they invented the woman-inside-woman concept for their dolls. Smith also shares that they opted for no nipples after top surgery, but laments that "when I'm cold, you'll never know." They're considering putting a QR code on their chest instead, which would take them to a photo of the formerly "sick rack." They encourage conversations about said rack via the email address "siiickrack@gmail . com."

Portland, Oregon's Mx. Dahlia Belle was born male but lives life as a woman, having "a vagina with none of the obstacles," like those with "factory default vaginas" and comparing "stock versus after-market vaginas." They wanted to "take specific aspects of womanhood off your hands," such as women being "infantilized, dehumanized, objectified, and propositioned." Considering transgenderism, Krishna Istha observes that "if you think about it, all of us were once trapped inside a woman."

Gender- and genre-nonconforming Stanford graduate Alok stated the preferred pronouns of "He/He/Ha/Ha." Alok also notes that "if you don't laugh, you're confirming my identity because women aren't funny."

Gadsby's "Gender Agenda" is a refreshing collection of non-white, queer perspectives.

"Hannah Gadsby's Gender Agenda" streams on Netflix starting March 5.

by Karin McKie

Karin McKie is a writer, educator and activist at

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