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Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Radical Tranny's Take on Using the Word "Tranny"

Ethan St. Pierre is well known for his bold activism and work on the Transgender Day of Remembrance project . His podcast, "The Radical Trannies" on TransFM is doing wonders to promote equality and to spread an affirming message for transmen and women everywhere.

In his latest post on his My Halo blog, Ethan explains the differences between groups in the use of the word "Tranny." Whether you find it derogatory or a word we need to reclaim, similar to "Queer" being reclaimed by the gay and lesbian community, Ethan gives a good explanation why it's not a generally appropriate word to use. Head on over to My Halo and find out more.


  1. Great blog post from Ethan.

    It would be good if people would dialogue rather than start flame wars. There is often more to things than what meets the eye. This is especially true in written communication, in which you can't see body language or hear tone.

  2. I somehow have the feeling to qualify tranny on the same level as faggot and dyke, as I have the perception these names are mainly used in a negative way.

    I'm not easily offended and as such normally will not pay much attention on it, but I still do get a somewhat strange feeling when I see someone using "tranny" to define/identify themself.
    Maybe I'm just "getting old"....
    But the use of some names as well as words change over time, just remember there was a time where "gay"had nothing to do with being homosexual.

  3. The thing I am getting from all this, especially since my vlog was used in spreading the word, is I think there is far to much dropping of labels and slang in everyday conversation. This just promotes the problem I think. I have never understood why there need to be so many different labels good or bad. What ever happened to just being a person? Why is there such a strong need for so many to put people in so many different categories?

    I know we are not all the same and many people do not fit in to certain generalized categories. IMHO we just don't need to deeply segregate and categorize every single difference in human nature. I am just so very tired of so many people trying to put other people in their place.

    But honestly I don't know what the answer is.

  4. Ironically, the only time I've ever seen "tranny" used in a deliberately derogatory fashion was by gay men. In fact, "tranny" in the vernacular of certain gay circles is an insult slung between members. Grown from that is the fun little diddy, "hot tranny mess", which has its own entry at the urban dictionary these days.

    I've certainly seen others use tranny as shorthand for transsexual, ostensibly not meaning any harm...or any more harm than their personal level of respect or disrepect would allow anyway. I tend to correct them, simply because the community byline sort of dictates it, but at this point in its etymology, I don't think it's reached the level of the "n" word.

    As far as labels go, "woman" is a label we all seem to want for ourselves real bad. We're all supporting the hierarchy of labels, whether we want to believe it or not.

  5. My post that got this all started
    Demand the Dallas Voice Stops using 'Tranny'
    stated in the first paragraph "Thank you Nikki Dreams for this wonderfully sensitive and enlightening video. I hope everyone who watches this comes to appreciates how harmful it is to the self respect of transgender people when you call us "Trannie" and unless we are a entertainer with published articles which we identify ourselves individually as a "Drag Queen or Tranny" please do not call us by these names."

    It was gay men from the Dallas Voice who tried to bulldoze me with emails and failing this tried to make this conversation into a one dimensional issue.

    It is gay men who line up for blocks to laugh at 'tranny' performances in Dallas. They don't stop laughing at them when the show is over. That's straight from my gay friends mouth.

    Ethan's badge featuring 'Radical Tranny' show had been featured and promoted for a over a year on planetransgender. Just prior to this conflagration Ethan offered a different badge which I now feature, but if you go to the bottom of my blog you'll still find a pod'o'matic featuring 'radical Ethan'.I have always been proud to be a friend of Ethan.

    What I have a problem with is the way the Dallas used 'tranny' over 100,000 times. The name was never used in a way that could have been construed as promoting a positive view of transgender people. It was nearly always degrading, demoralizing, denigrating and marginalizing.

    They are aware that we are vigilant and will expose and protest bigotry not just against transgender people but the all GLBT people whether it originates from stright or gay media.


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