Why Was Trans Man Saff Misgendered Throughout Netflix’s “Tiger King” Docuseries?

As the clock struck twelve on midnight to bring the entire country into 2020, few people would have believed that we would collectively be spending the beginning of Spring 2020 housebound, becoming engrossed in the world of a small town eccentric man known as The Tiger King. The world of Joe Maldonado-Passage is full of polygamy, drug abuse, and a woman who quite possibly (allegedly) fed her second husband to tigers. The one constant throughout Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder Mayhem & Madness though, is the seemingly level headed and pragmatic Saff, who was employed by Joe at Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. We also get to see, in graphic detail, Saff lose a large portion of his arm after being mauled by a cat. Only now though, are we seeing a realistic side of Saff that the documentary unfortunately did not portray. 

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

Robert Moor is the reporter behind the deep dive podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King series that went deep on the life of Joe Exotic before the Netflix series, and he revealed this week on Twitter that Saff is actually a trans man, who uses he/him pronouns.  Moor went on to say “It’s tricky, because all of the news broadcasts at the time, and most of the people at the zoo, use the wrong pronouns for Saff. (Joe was particularly bad about this)”.


He also reveals in a separate tweet that Josh Diall, the campaign manager for Joe’s ultimately unsuccessful gubernatorial run, was actually a gay man himself. He approached Joe in a Wal-Mart, thanking him for being the only “out gay man for many miles when he was growing up”. 

With a Season 2 of Tiger King being heavily rumored, here’s hoping we get a more in-depth look at some of the supporting characters of what has proven to be an endlessly compelling story. 

“Tiger King” is airing on Netflix now

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