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“Tranny” And Other Buttons

Once again I’m going to buck the trend of transgender populist thinking and make a counterintuitive declaration. I refuse to take offense at the word “tranny”. Oh, there she goes again trying to be all controversial and avant-garde with an inflammatory statement. Just what we need, another snarky shock blogger. Ooo, she probably thinks she’s so cool. Maybe. Sometimes at least. In this case I am hoping to make a larger point. If you got this far, stay with me and I’ll keep it short.

The language of every culture, probably that has ever been, contains within a rich array of sounds, when put in the right context, have the power to make someone feel bad about themselves. We as humans are really good at that. After all, we are pack animals, and aside from the primal tools of “corrective” violence, we naturally developed other means to dissuade others from straying outside the lines of whatever arbitrary and ridiculous set of norms were established by the last strong man leader to set policy rather than enforce it. For those unwilling to beat someone into submission, and not particularly verbose, name calling is a great way to express in one word that they feel, from a ‘regular person’ standpoint, that the other is something less than that. Often times, very much less.

The prime example of this is of course ‘The N Word’. Honestly, I’m not even comfortable seeing it in print, much less writing it, even for the sake of example, such is its power. Uttering it aloud, especially in the context for which it first came into being is like shouting out the secret name of god backwards in attempts to undo all of creation. Volatile and unpredictable, it can be a weapon of mass destruction when flipped into the crowd by a 90’s character actor, or sell a million comedy albums. This dubious gift to America is like giving Newt Gingrich a Green Lantern ring. Maybe there could be some good that comes out of it, but holy shit, chances are it’s going to be really, really bad. What really happened is that intolerant assholes were upgraded from a bow and arrow to a nuclear weapon. I can’t see how that is good for anyone.

The equivalent word in transgendered culture seems to be quickly becoming ‘tranny’. Like the N Word, ‘tranny’ is rarely ever thrown out there give anyone the warm fuzzies. Like all other name calling, the real reason for using it is to hurt someone’s feelings and make them feel less than. That is why I’m drawing the line. I can’t tell anyone else what is going to hurt their feelings or isn’t, but for me, I’ll be damned if I’m going to put such a convenient shiny, red, candy like button on my forehead for someone to push just because my existence offends their delicate sensibilities. If you want to hurt my feelings, by god, you are going to have to work for it.

I  know there are some like me who are trying to take it back; make it our word and all. I’d rather just see it stripped of meaning and impact. I won’t respond to it, nor will I use it against my sisters, and aside from this obvious exception, I  have no plans to even talk about it again. If we leave it alone and refuse to let it bother us, it may die a gradual death, lonely and misunderstood ,and come to rest beside other toothless old anachronisms like ‘wisenheimer’, whatever the hell that used to mean anyway.

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About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

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  1. Pingback: The Faux Pas of Misgendered Rage « Michellelianna

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