New York

Transgender NYC Teacher Confronts Subway Busker Who Dedicates Carole King Song to ‘Bruce Jenner's Surgeon'

"If there’s not people like me calling these people out, I don't think progress could be made"

What to Know

  • A New York City teacher confronted a subway busker who made a joke about transgender people on Wednesday
  • The exchange was captured on video by the teacher, Sean Summer Brady, who is herself transgender
  • The video has attracted thousands of views, and an outpouring of support from those commending Brady for standing up for herself

A transgender New York City teacher is receiving an outpouring of support on social media after she posted a video of herself confronting a subway busker who made a discriminatory joke about "Bruce Jenner's surgeon."

Sean Summer Brady was traveling home on the R train on Wednesday evening when she said she was singled out by the busker. Brady said the man, a guitar player wearing a gray suit, made a beeline for her on the train.

She said he then announced he was dedicating his next song to "Bruce Jenner's surgeon." The busker was referencing Caitlyn Jenner, the TV personality and Olympic gold-medalist who was formerly known as Bruce Jenner.

"I saw him lock his eyes on me and he began to play the song "(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman," Brady said. "He plays a little and stops and looks at me: "You get it, he’s not a natural woman," he says, and laughs." 

Sean Summer Brady.

Brady said she often ignores these kinds of comments, but Wednesday's exchange was different.

"Unfortunately, even though in many ways I do pass for a woman, some days I'm not as 'femmed' up," she said. "As my transition has gone on I realized I'm not going to just sit back and allow people to treat me as less than human and bully my community in general."

NBC 4 New York could not independently verify what happened before and after the camera started rolling, but in a video posted to Instagram, Brady is heard confronting the performer about his joke. He denies making fun of Brady specifically, but says he did make the trans-joke.

"Yes, I played a Carole King song titled,"(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman," dedicating it to Bruce Jenner’s surgeon," he says.

He adds later, "I love pushing buttons."

Brady's video has garnered thousands of views and hundreds of comments from those thanking her for standing up for the trans community.

The global history teacher, who works at a Manhattan high school that makes her feel "fully accepted," said this is her second time transitioning after having 'the fear of being trans' knocked into her the first time. 

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Transgender people face frequent discrimination as they go about their daily lives, communications director of LGBTQ organization GLAAD Sue Yacka added.

“It is not appropriate to comment on a transgender person - or any person’s - personal appearance or medical history from a place of mockery and disrespect," Yacka said. "Here in New York City, the subway is an especially unsafe space for transgender people, and is too often a site of public humiliation and harassment.”

Anti-Violence Project spokesman Eliel Cruz added that it is important bystanders step up when others are put at risk.

"As a community, we all have a role in ending and preventing violence and harassment," he said. 

Brady said now she wants to be a role model for transgender kids.

"If there’s not people like me calling these people out, I don't think progress could be made," she said. 

She said she doesn't have a problem with comedians making jokes if they're clever and don't use a discriminated group as an easy punchline.

"At this moment, trans people are discriminated against on a daily basis, they get attacked on the street, they get murdered at a higher's not funny," she said. 

Brady added that she did not report the incident to police because she has had negative experiences reporting incidents in the past.

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