Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A note to a friend on "Tranny"

Hey L--!
I remember I was going to send you my thoughts on "tranny." This is one of those words that depends so much on context. I believe that humanizing, inclusive language is a good thing, and dehumanizing, othering language is a bad thing. When I say "tranny" to my friend Jamez, who is out as trans, it is because we both share many of the same experiences and struggle. It is a tacit acknowledgment of all we have in common. I think that is fine. When a snotty cisgendered person uses "tranny" as a slur, it is an othering tactic, and instead of referring to our similarities, it emphasizes my differences with the communuity (and, consequently, places my heatlh, dignity, and safety at risk). Not kewl.

When a cis gendered loved one uses tranny, or trans artist refers to hirself as a tranny, these are gray areas. I have actually gently asked my girlfriend to keep from using that word with me, because I want to submerge myself in the ways in which we are similar, not different. And, of course, a trans artist who uses "tranny" as part of hir message or medium, should have every right to do so. However, I cringe when I see "tranny" performances become exploitative.

In the end , uses of "tranny" that build and affirm and nurture seem fine, while those that separate, isolate, and dehumanize are not.

I hope that helps.

If I had a lot of money and/or influence as a LGBT Poohbah.

If I were some sort of mover/shaker in the LGBT community, right now I would send help and supplies and whatever else was needed to those people in the Midwest and South devastated by the tornadoes. I would clearly indicate we came from the LGBT group I was poohbah of, but then just get to work helping people.

We try to build bridges to others when we need them, but the best way to change hearts is to be there when they need us. Besides, it would simply be the decent thing to do.

A Quick Note on Rush Limbaugh and Fresh Flowers

From "More Limbaugh advertisers jump ship" at CNN.com:

"ProFlowers, an online flower delivery service, said in a Facebook posting Sunday Limbaugh's comments were at odds with their corporate image.

'At ProFlowers, our mission is to delight our customers with fresh and long lasting flowers, and that is our singular focus each and every day,' the statement read."

I wonder how the Limbaugh show could have EVER been consistent with ProFlowers' mission. Caveat emptor applies to advertisers as well. You should be careful of where you throw your advertising dollars. Your oversight, carelessness, or flat out greed helped fund and propagate this show. Find shows where listeners might truly be "delighted" with giving and receiving fresh flowers. They are out there. Some of them are even women, some are even queer and our money is just as green as any Rush listener's.

Come on, ProFlowers. Support AIDS walk. Donate to a feminist bookstore. Give a big chunk o' cash to the Special Olympics. Go for it. We could all use a few more flowers. ;)