Using “Tranny”

By , April 11, 2009 12:36 am

I admit it – I’ve used the word “tranny” both online and off, and even a few times on this blog. But, as I’ve been thinking more about the issue (and about how I feel about ‘fag,’ and the-N-word) I’ve come to the realization that I don’t like what it communicates.

At first, I wasn’t even sure what was making me uneasy. The idea of word reclamation is very attractive as a member of an opressed group, and there is something extremely powerful about turning a word on oppressors. Because, lets face it, “tranny” is not generally used in mainstream media as a positive term. With the exception of an Urban Dictionary link*, most of the top search results for “tranny” are sex sites, as good an example as any of the societal fetishization and objectification of trans women. Searching for “lesbian,” in comparison, brings up links to Wikipedia,, resources about being gay, etc. That sends a very specific message about what being a “tranny” means, and could actually strengthen the argument that “tranny” should be reclaimed, or needs to be reclaimed. Which is what I used to think.

I’ve changed my mind.

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