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Glee attacked for ‘tranny slur’

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  1. Peter Leeson 4 Nov 2010, 1:08pm

    It is difficult to establish the limit between slurs and realism. The fact that a character’s father says he does not want his son looking like a “tranny” does not strike me as a slur meriting this response – it just seems that this is the kind of word an average man might use when finding out that his son has to dress in stockings and high-heels for a school play. Blaming the script writers for not portraying a less than perfectly tolerant and accepting world is wrong. (BTW, I have not seen this episode, so maybe I am missing something more important)

  2. Jimmy C-C 4 Nov 2010, 1:09pm

    A sanitised and neutered kid-friendly version of Rocky Horror and yet they can still sling the “tranny” word around because popular media still thinks transexuals are an acceptable target group for jokes and hatred.

  3. An Cat Dubh 4 Nov 2010, 2:19pm

    Wait, ‘tranny’ is a slur? Oh Kot, I’ve heard a transsexual use it and thought it was legit…

  4. I believe, in this case, it is “tranny” as in transvestite rather than transexual.

  5. It’s very similar to most elements in life, if a trans person uses it that ok (in my book) because they are trans; it’s all about respect & intent and sadly most people do not use these words with this.

    I’m both a lesbian and a trans-women I personally used words like this but only with close personal friends or my partner and only in jest.

    It’s the intent. I would never dream of calling any of my trans friends ‘tranny’ unless I know they are cool with it.

    But I would ALWAYS make sure that I never use these words in public so they can be heard by other people as this just reinforces that these words are ok to use.

    These are MY views and mine only.

  6. chris in new england 4 Nov 2010, 6:06pm

    Uh oh. Tranny get your gun!

  7. schuklegrubber 4 Nov 2010, 10:08pm

    omg!such a shocking word what are people like me to do is my ford tranny van now to be refered to as a tranvestite/transexual van and what about my poor put upon and victimised portable radio i’ll never be able to look at it the same way again
    please grow up Megan:
    “I’m both a lesbian and a trans-women I personally used words like this but only with close personal friends or my partner and only in jest.

    It’s the intent. I would never dream of calling any of my trans friends ‘tranny’ unless I know they are cool with it.”
    You use the word and by doing so have no right to complain and winge about other people using it the term HYPOCRITE springs to mind

    But I would ALWAYS make sure that I never use these words in public so they can be heard by other people as this just reinforces that these words are ok to use.

  8. OrtharRrith 4 Nov 2010, 11:21pm

    Tranny is an offensive term and one that many feel is just as nasty as fag. It’s generally used as an insult or as part of an offesive joke at a trans persons expence.
    When popular programs use it without making it clear that it’s an offensive term then it sets precident for people to use when they encounter trans people.

  9. Right. Can the sarky bastards take a break now. Everyone knows that if a person of a certain group co-ops a word used to slur them and uses it among their peers, it’s not the same thing as someone using it to attack or belittle them.

    Kinda like the word ‘queer’.

    I cannot believe how easily some people forget their own hurts so they can claim others are just being oversensitive. Bottom line: don’t sling the word ‘tranny’ about to hurt people. I mean what do you get out of it?

  10. I’ve never seen ‘Glee’ but judging by its immature attitude towards transpeople it sounds just like any other crap, mindnumbing yankee import.

  11. schuklegrubber 5 Nov 2010, 12:16am

    So sorry but if the word is so offensive coming from a person outside of your peer group or clique then the use of the word within your peer group is also offensive. If one gets so upset about the use of words by outsiders but one uses the self same word then that is HYPOCRACY

  12. schuklegrubber would seem to be incapable of any level of deep thinking. go and complain about black people using the n-word or your fellow gay men using the f-word. you wouldnt want to be a…. hypocrite… would you?

  13. chris in new england 5 Nov 2010, 3:42am

    I don’t think it’s a question of hypocrisy. People can always say things about their own in-groups that an outsider can’t expect to get away with. I love to bitch about my people (gay guys), my school, my town, my state, etc. all the time, but let an outsider start badmouthing any of those things and it’s a different story. I tease my own brother mercilessly, but if I ever heard half the same things come out of a stranger’s mouth I’d want to pop him one. It’s a form of tribalism, and we’re all prone to it. So I don’t begrudge transgender folks the right to own the word tranny. I saw the ep and it seemed pretty harmless to me, but then it’s not my ox being gored.

  14. “Tranny” is a part of a car, not a person.

  15. And the word “attacked” in the headline is a little strong. How about “Glee CRITICIZED for using the word “tranny” in story.

  16. Good grief.

    The whole point is that this kid’s parents are bigots, hence they use bigoted language. If C4 made a drama about racism, would they have to have a mob of EDL supporters marching around Bradford chanting “People from a minority ethnic background should be made to go and live in the area from which their ancestors originated” or “Pakis go home”?

    I really think some people need to get a grip.

  17. Peter Leeson:
    > It is difficult to establish the limit between slurs and
    > realism. The fact that a character’s father says he does not
    > want his son looking like a “tranny” does not strike me as a
    > slur meriting this response – it just seems that this is the
    > kind of word an average man might use when finding out that his
    > son has to dress in stockings and high-heels for a school play.
    > Blaming the script writers for not portraying a less than
    > perfectly tolerant and accepting world is wrong. (BTW, I have
    > not seen this episode, so maybe I am missing something more
    > important)

    What you seem to have missed is where the story says that his son then uses the word in school and no one corrects him, despite a homophobic term having been corrected in a previous episode.

    GLAAD seems to have got it about right this time.

    But the bigger picture, with regards to Glee, is that it misleads its fans and viewers on several minorities, yet leaving them feeling all warm and minority positive, which seems one of its big selling points.

    UK broadcasters would not cast a wheelchair user to play a wheelchair user. There are too few roles for wheelchair user actors anyway, without that. Glee then compounded the offence by having the entire Glee club use wheelchairs for one number. Disability groups regard that as the equivalent of actors “blacking up”.

    And then there is the way gay and trans are mixed up in one character. A basic problem that may well link to the many ways the series’ creator slurred trans people in his previous series ‘Nip and Tuck’.

    There are also issues around the ethnic mix, although the character interactions are less ethnically divided that is usual in US TV drama.

  18. An Cat Dubh:
    > Wait, ‘tranny’ is a slur? Oh Kot, I’ve heard a transsexual use
    > it and thought it was legit…

    There’s a live issue of some female-to-male people (against whom the term was never used) thinking is clever to “reclaim” it, so encouraging people to think it is OK to continue using it against male-to-females. They are being discouraged. Some on the drag scene seem to think it clever to use it against others, a bit like some Black people sometimes use the N word.

    BJ:
    > I believe, in this case, it is “tranny” as in transvestite
    > rather than transexual.

    Its main use is to denigrate so quite who is meant to be denigrated is somewhat irrelevant.

    Anyway, its use was one reason why the former now prefer “cross-dresser”. The latter have always found it very insulting.

    Stonewall sent an instructional DVD to all UK schools in February this year in which some lesbian and gay teens informed viewers on trans definitions, and toss “tranny” around without care for its offence. The film-maker has apologised, but not Stonewall, and of course the damage is done – the DVD is out there, supposedly instructing all schools on LGBT issues.

  19. Oh please! Changing the words of the rocky horror show? wot next! Its a great gayfest so leave it alone. As for using the word tranny, a lot of Transvestites and transexuals use the word themselves!

  20. Jimmy C-C
    > A sanitised and neutered kid-friendly version of Rocky Horror
    > and yet they can still sling the “tranny” word around because
    > popular media still thinks transexuals are an acceptable target
    > group for jokes and hatred.

    Yes, and the UK broadcast regulators too. In that big BBC series where Lindsey Lohan, as a lesbian, was described in very insulting terms, for which the BBC had to apologize, “tranny” was used several times but the complaints were ignored.

    OFCOM, the broadcasting regulator, uses the test “what would the general public find offensive”, not what the victims do – a very different test to what would be discriminatory in a workplace or to a customer or service user. Obviously almost anything said about trans people sails through.

    Channel 4 did a documentary about transsexual children (the first in the UK and so a precedent) but the narrator used the wrong pronouns right through, in opposition to the usage and wishes of all those filmed. Ofcom rejected all complaints, stating that test as the reason. When it was broadcast in the US captions were inserted making excuses for the offence.

  21. SteveDenver 6 Nov 2010, 3:44am

    “Tranny” is like a lot of other “slurs,” if transsexuals use it, OK. If someone else uses it, not OK.
    If you want acceptance and respect, need you get hung up on a crusade for every minor — and probably accidental — incursion?

    Be mature and be respectable, AND TAKE SOME THINGS IN STRIDE. Fact of the matter is: FRANKENFURTER IS A TRANNY, so there!

  22. Really I don’t get what the big deal is, the character was merely repeating what his dad said and then left the room. He’s not the one who needs to be corrected, his dad was.

    As for changing the words, keep in mind this is a high school doing the Rocky Horror show so naturally there would be some changes to the script so that it could be done, plus they have to get it past the censors so they probably changed some stuff to make sure they even got the episode to air,

  23. Trans Menace California 7 Nov 2010, 1:18am

    Ok, it’s on. Haters and those who dehumanize, slur, misrepresent and try to control trans people as a few on here, do not know what war is …yet.

  24. I’ve been to gay nights with names like “Tranny Shack” and have heard, with little fanfare, terms such as “hot tranny mess” via Christian Siriano on Project Runway…so why was this so much worse than that? In the context of a Rocky Horror themed show I think the writer’s of Glee did an excellent job. I’m not saying that “tranny” could never be used to denigrate a person, just not in this instance. It makes me wonder if you’ve all read “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” because when we cry foul at things that are not intended to belittle or demean we lose our chance of having our voice heard when there are truly deserving issues.

  25. OrtharRrith 8 Nov 2010, 11:43am

    It’s not so much about being offensive as it is about educating, and I’m not refuring to the characters in the show. If people watch a program that bands about the word “tranny” in relation to transpeople with no one pointing out that it’s an offensive term, then they will come away from the show thinking it’s okay to call the next transsexual woman they encounter a tranny.
    As a trans woman myself I can tell you that it stings to hear on a program – any program – but it’s more bearable if the show takes a few seconds to show in one way or another that it’s not acceptable.

  26. Michelle Michaels 8 Nov 2010, 3:04pm

    I am a self identified “tranny” or “t-girl” (male to female transgender). I take hormones and try to live as a woman. I am not offended by the term. My mechanic calls my car’s transmission a tranny too. I have been called much worse e.g. “shemale” which is a porno term only. The general population does not know the proper terminology. The only confusion is does the term “tranny” refer to transgender, transexual, transvestite, or transmission? Tranny could be short for any of these words. So many people use the terms interchangeably and they don’t really know the difference which is what the show’s writers may have been trying to convey. I’ll have to bring this up in my support group and see if anyone else would be offended. I am proud of being queer and more specifically being “trans” and I am sick and tired of all of this political correctness.

  27. I’m surprised nobody has picked up on the direct correlation used in the article between the phrase ‘cleaning up’ and the removal of the word transsexual.

    I consider it offensive that the show removed the word in the first place (suggesting that it’s not an appropriate word for children to hear – would they get away with the same suggestion applied to the word ‘gay’?).

    I am further concerned that an editor of Pink News refers to this directly as cleaning up, without quote marks, suggesting she implicitely agrees that removing the word makes the episode ‘cleaner’ somehow.

    Whether or not we can agree on whether ‘tranny’ is a slur (it’s clearly a divided issue), doesn’t anyone else find it highly worrying that the actual term transsexual is being censored?

  28. @ Kai

    *nodnod* – I agree, that’s a good point. I remember being forwarded a link to an interview with Russell T Davies in which he said that he didn’t think it would be a good idea for the titular character of “Doctor Who” to ever be played by a woman because that would mean bringing up ‘sex-changes’ in front of a family audience. And I don’t see why that would be a problem – it’s not as if you’d have to do the whole sex-education talk at the same time. Apart from anything else, trans issues are something we probably ought to explain to children quite early on, because many children will be experiencing gender dysphoria at a young age….

  29. David Myers 20 Jan 2011, 11:33pm

    It was clearly implied that the word “tranny” was what the boy’s parent’s disparagingly called it, not what the boy who was willing to play the Frank’n’furter role but was forbidden to do so, was calling it. Thus it was a complaint by the boy about his parent’s uptightness and was thus a criticism of the parent’s attitude as well as “their” use of the word “tranny”. In other words, Glee was calling attention to the parent’s bigotry, not supporting the use of the word. Get a life people!

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