Land of a thousand words

This afternoon a young friend contacted me, he was very upset about a debate that had been lingering  on a blog about an article in the Dallas Voice and the use of the word  “tranny.”

My young friend was upset because he was being wrongly accused of being a transphobic bigot.  I’ve known of this young, gay man for quite some time and his work with the lgbt community has been fantastic. He is in his early 20s has only lived in very progressive states and has been engulfed in the lgbt culture of his time which includes the use of the word, Tranny.  The vast majority of his friends are 20 something year old transgender people who live a San Francisco. They use the word, Tranny in a matter of fact tone, not to belittle nor as a derogatory term but with pride and empowerment.

The person who is upset with this young man is a middle aged transgender woman who lives in the not so progressive state of Texas. This leaves a culture, age and geographical gap. My young friend, who was absolutely crushed by the transgender person’s accusations, asked me for my opinion on the matter and use of the word, Tranny. Here is what I wrote:

I use the word tranny in my broadcast title (the radical trannies) and I use it when I speak to other trangender people. I never use it as a term of disrespect. Do I believe in the reclaiming of words and their use of empowerment? Indeed I do. However, I would never think of referring to RuPaul as either  a nigger or a faggot. I have no problem using the word Queer because it is a general term and socially acceptable within our community.

I understand that the word tranny is being used and reclaimed by a younger population in a variety of geographical areas but it is still not widely used as a term of endearment and I highly doubt that the writer of the Dallas voice is all that endeared to transgender people. The Dallas Voice has a history of quite the contrary.  To top it off, Texas has the 3rd highest rate of trangender murders in the country and the unemployment rate for trangender people is off the charts. Most people who are transgender and live in TX, live way below the poverty level.
Many transgender people live in a world where the use of the word tranny is the same as being called a faggot, nigger or in some cases, what it was like to have a person call a black man “boy,” back in the 60s.

I wasn’t all that happy with the idea that the Dallas Voice used RuPaul as the official spokes person for the transgender community, since he has repeated more than once that he is NOT a transgender person but a gay man in drag.

The next time there is a question about gay culture, do you think the Dallas Voice will make me the official spokesman?

My young friend understands and agrees but is upset that he didn’t get the chance to express himself. He should have been given that chance. The only way we are going to bridge the gaps are with an open dialogue and communication. As for the Dallas Voice, they should really get a clue.


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2 Responses to “Land of a thousand words”

  1. planetransgender Says:

    Thank you Ethan,
    you are a very enlightened and wise person for someone so young;) Hey, between T’s it can be a mutual sign of admiration when we whisper “bad trannie” to a friend.
    It is a sign of hateful contempt for a GLB newspaper to willfully commercialize tranny baiting as the Dallas Voice and the Dallas Voice’s Instant Tea does. As you pointed out if you live in a different country your well being is dependent on learning the social conscripts. As a vet I will attest that those who ignore that prat ice suffer.
    Mr Luna completely flabbergasted me when he promoted his new movie “Ticked off Trannies With Knives” on the very same Tea entry 18 GLBT were attempting to explain what is not ok to use tranny. In Texas tranny is disposable, killable, trash, a used up sex object of no value. A “Tranny Defence? sure 4 years for killing the flower of our youth because a hetero or closeted homosexual claimed they were “surprised” so they can maintain there macho image.

    Mr. Luna is not as ignorant as he portends nor as innocent as seems as to the harmful nature of “Tranny”.

    Posted on 1/1/09 by Mr Luna on Instant Tea “Planetransgender takes action against the word ‘Tranny’”

    “Israel Luna Says: ”

    “February 1st, 2009 at 11:47 am
    I don’t know if this will matter or not but the simple story to my script is:
    GIRLS perform.
    GIRLS get bashed by STRAIGHT MEN.
    GIRLS are left for dead.
    GIRLS come back and kick their ass!
    The End.
    These characters will be so empowering, so strong, so amazingly-kick-ass hot and feirce!

    Luna is outing someone intentionaly in this post hoping to cower and embarrasse. them into submission. Mr. Luna everyone I know respects me more than that. You clearly have no respect for human dignity.

    Yes I am Pre-op. I am a Pre-op Transgender Woman. Everyone allready knew that Luna, you shot another blank.

    Naming your post with a more hatefull slur might garner you a few more dollars from men who hide in the shadows, but you loose all respect in the proccess.

    Kelli Busey
    Transgender Woman

  2. nancynan Says:

    Well said, Ethan!

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