One of the actors from the popular sitcom Family Matters is all over twitter today and no, it isn’t Jaleel White who played perhaps the most iconic nerd of the ’90s, Steve Urkel. Instead, social media is all abuzz about Darius McCray who played Eddie Winslow, Steve Urkel’s next door neighbor. There are reports that McCray is dating rapper Sidney Starr, one of the most famous transgender stars in the world.
The reports started with a post on Sidney Starr’s Instagram, showing Starr and Family Matters‘ McCray in a photo shoot in which the pair seem to be getting very up close and personal. Starr captioned the video with “We both are just built special!!!!! 2 hard working celebrities in the industry!!!!!!! Eddie Winslow we love you!!!! @dariusmccrary ! We hear y’all talking !!! #transisbeautiful #familymatters.” You can see the video below.
Some sites like The Shade Room and All Hip Hop took the post as confirmation that McCray and Starr are dating. But according to the man who was once Eddie Winslow of Family Matters, those sites jumped the gun. A couple of hours after the reports broke, McCray posted a video to his twitter of himself, his mother, and his daughter eating at a restaurant. The video starts off with McCray joking around with someone off screen, but once he turns to the phone he begins by saying he usually doesn’t address rumors because they’re for people with “small minds.” Eventually, after some joking around with his mother, McCray talks about the public “discussing rumors that aren’t true.” He and his mother repeat that they aren’t true several times before the video ends. He also says, “What are we, in high school? You gonna tell me who I can’t be friends with? Who I can’t hang out with?” You can watch the video below.
Whether or not the rumors prove true, it seems clear the most unfortunate thing about this story is that it’s caused a lot of ugliness to bubble up to the surface on twitter. With McCray forever married in the public’s mind to his Family Matters character, “Eddie Winslow” is now trending on twitter and it doesn’t take long to see the transphobia showing. Some of it is subtle, some of it isn’t subtle at all.
But while there may be haters, that isn’t all there is. Other twitter users are calling out the transphobia in the trending topic. Some seem genuinely bewildered at the notion the public should do anything but let the Family Matters alum and Sidney Starr live their lives, and still others are just grateful the actor isn’t trending for a more tragic reason.
At the same time, all the speculation and back and forth about the former Family Matters actor and Sidney Starr is happening in the shadow of the controversy over Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix special The Closer, which has plenty of critics calling out Chappelle for transphobia. The firestorm doesn’t seem to be fading from view any time soon, with the latest related events including the Emmy winning Hannah Gadsby calling Netflix a “cult” and the company firing one the leaders of the trans resource group planning a walk out this week in protest of The Closer.