Why is ‘Tranny’ controversial?

I’m not really sure what’s up for debate here, but let’s dive in because a debate still seems to exist somehow.

The word tranny is seen as a slur by most of the trans* community, both male and female. I can’t say all, because generalising. No large subset of people will ever 100% agree on anything. That said, almost all of the community agree, the word tranny is a slur, so simply put; do not use it.

Ever.

Allow me to clarify because this may be news to some people. I’ve genuinely had this reaction before ‘but this is acceptable, I’ve seen it on TV, when did this become not OK? RuPaul even uses it! No-one told me!’ OK, now someone who is trans is telling you, so no more excuses. RuPaul is a drag queen, not transgender, so he doesn’t get to use it either. TV and society in general are lagging behind on this issue. So are LGBT organisations like @glaad. (NB:Glaad is catching up.)

Here’s an example:

Only POC get to use the word nigger. Out of respect no-one else gets to use that word. Why? Because it is a word that is offensive, has hateful connotations, and outside of POC only racists use it. So people have learned that saying that word is ghastly and that fact has entered the social zeitgeist.

Only trans people get to use the word tranny. Out of respect no-one else gets to use that word. Why? Because it is a word that is offensive, has hateful connotations, and outside of the trans community only hateful or ignorant use it. People are still in the process of learning that saying that word is ghastly but it has yet to enter the social zeitgeist.

This is a topic written about before, just see this piece in the Advocate by Parker Molloy. It’s personal too, Jules has had the insult tranny hurled at them as a form of abuse. When words become used to turn a person into a thing, thus dehumanising them, they become a tool of violence. As any brief look at history will show, it’s easier to ignore, hurt or kill someone if they aren’t even seen as a real person. The words you use matter, they stand for something.

Sticks and stones, as the saying goes, no, just stop. The word tranny is often the last word heard before violence against trans men and women. It has weight, connotations, it hurts. Please think about this issue, consider it. If you are not intending to cause offence when using the word tranny, why not use a different word?

Just swap tranny with trans. It’s not much to ask and you won’t hurt other humans who continue to be abused by having the gross word tranny hurled at them.

Profile photo of Marcy Cook

Female geek, author and blogger. Non-cis, non-straight, non-single, non-asshat.

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