Julia Sweeney Responds to Jill Soloway’s ‘It’s Pat’ Transgender Criticism

“I never have thought of Pat as being transgender,” actress says of her former “Saturday Night Live” character

Last Updated: September 6, 2017 @ 9:55 PM

There’s nothing ambiguous about “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway’s criticism of the former “Saturday Night Live” skit “It’s Pat,” and now the actress who played the murky-gendered character has responded to Soloway’s criticism.

During the Television Critics Association press tour in August, Soloway tore into the skit — which hinged its jokes on people’s uncertainty over Pat’s gender — as “an awful piece of anti-trans propaganda.”

Speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview published Wednesday, Julia Sweeney said that she understood Soloway’s point — though the “SNL” alum added that she didn’t regard her character as transgender.

“I probably don’t disagree with [Soloway] actually,” Sweeney said. “Pat didn’t feel strange or weird or wrong — and frankly I never have thought of Pat as being transgender. That character is simply a gender we have yet to figure out!”

Sweeney added, “None of the jokes were made at Pat’s expense, but I can see how today that what we did is so next-door to laughing AT the person for not having clear gender characteristics. So, I can see how it  might seem like you’re laughing at the person.”

Despite her insistence that her character wasn’t the target of the humor in the “It‘s Pat” sketches, Sweeney allowed that the skit likely wouldn’t fly in this day and age.

Recalling how she was asked to reprise the character for a Halloween appearance on “Today” last year, Sweeney reflected, “My first instinct was, ‘Can we even do Pat anymore? It seems so completely inappropriate at this point in time.’ It seems so dated now. … However, being asked to do that made me think a lot about the character and realize the time for Pat is past.”

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