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The Long-Overdue Death of the Word Tranny

Seductress on Couch

If you want to alienate a transgender woman, there’s probably no faster way to do it than to call her a tranny or trannie, it’s the trans community’s equivalent of the “N-word” within the black community. If you’re looking to date a transexual woman, then you should immediately strike the “T-word” from your vocabulary.

With the GLBT community making great strides in the battle for equality, many trans activists have credibly made the assertion that at best, the “T” in GLBT and LGBT is a lowercase letter in the initials, following the gay, lesbian and bisexuals and regarded as something of an afterthought within the mainstream homosexual communities, with some seeing the struggle for trans acceptance and equal rights as something apart from the gay, lesbian and bisexual rights movement.

While the gay community has made astonishing strides in societal and legal recognition of their rights, the transgender community has lagged significantly in getting the recognition that it deserves, though there are positive signs that, almost like the right wing has warned, the increasing acceptance of gay men and lesbian women is thankfully proving to be the point of a wedge, bringing, albeit delayed, acceptance for those with non-conformist gender identities.

As a case in point, recently Jerry Springer did a show in which transexual women revealed their birth sex to the men they had slept with, and in keeping with the show’s deserved low-rent reputation, included fist fights and the ripping-off of weaves. Now the wisdom of revealing to a man that you’re transgender on national television is dubious at best, doubling-down and accusing him as being “on the down-low,” just makes matters worse. Over the course of the episode we’re treated to the spectacle of a trans woman making the aforementioned reveal to her straight on-again off-again fuck buddy, a married woman getting into a fist fight with a drag queen who had a drunken encounter with her husband (who also had no idea she was a man). And finally we see a fella who stepped out on his girlfriend with a trans woman who had sent him a twerking video, first the guy reveals to his girlfriend that he cheated on her, then proposes marriage which is refused, and then for the coup de grâce, the “other woman” is trotted out to reveal she was “born a boy.”  Note to self: Never ever appear on the Jerry Springer Show, nothing good ever comes of it.

While the freak show that was this episode of The Jerry Springer Show was disgraceful, the title, “Trannies Twerk it Out,” was a bridge too far and the backlash due to the use of the term, both spoken on the show and in the title has resulted in the slimmest of silver linings, Springer has vowed to remove the term “tranny” from his vocabulary.

Little by little, positive changes are afoot for the transexual and transgender communities, and while Jerry Springer is hardly a purveyor of quality entertainment or an advocate for trans equality, even he is subject to pressures brought by an evolving movement that is willing to police the use of hateful speech, and when even Jerry Springer is brought to heel, it speaks to the larger picture of growing acceptance of those who are not cisgender.

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