This morning I read an article on a topic I absolutely despise and its gotten me thinking. So rather than chat about the fun things I had planned to showcase today we are going to sit down and have a serious discussion about a topic that far too many people avoid.

Within every community there are factions, groups that believe (sometimes with good reason) that they have been given the short straw. These groups are nothing new and I highly doubt the phenomenon is going to go away any time soon. And really that might well be a good thing. Life is a series of checks and balances and the put upon minority is a much needed part of that system.

But sometimes things get flipping out of hand.

I am fairly certain that some of you have already guessed the topic on which I am about to speak but let me spell it out for the uninitiated.


The word tranny has a long and painful history in the trans community. Used as a joke (trust a tranny to notice that), an epithet (you fuckin tranny), a nom-de-plume (I’m not just any tranny I am THE tranny), a clarifier (tranny chaser), a gender (tranny), an example (careful or you’ll have people thinking you’re a tranny), a type of drag character (faux drag or tranny drag is a common term used on the US pageant circuit to describe drag queens who intentionally modify their bodies with surgeries such as silicone implantation), and as a source of pride (I myself once screamed back at a would be assailant who attempted to wound me with that word “yes I am a tranny and fucking proud of it!”) With all this history behind it there is no wonder the word tranny brings with it a lot of contention (items with long histories often have that effect.) 

But this particular word has divided my community for far too fucking long.

The essence of the transwomens (and allies of that group) contention around this word was skillfully laid out by the author of the article I spoke of earlier and I shall attempt to do her effort justice. The word tranny has heavy connotations for the MtF (male to female transexual) community as it has most often been applied to them. Tranny watch lists are common on the Internet (people are encouraged to take pictures of people they suspect to be transexuals and post them on websites along with the location the sighting occurred, presumably to ensure straight men aren’t “sucked in”), tranny is a term often used to demean people who are “unattractive” by societal normalcy and is hurled far more often than punches in trans bashings.

Now all the facts stated above are absolutely true. The problem is those members of the trans community that insist the term is injurious and demeaning to all transwomen because of its history (I don’t buy that as I know a number of transwomen that use it proudly) and that no one should use the term, especially not (they say t guys aren’t entitled to use it as it hasn’t been used against us as often). But what the author failed to point out (and what most transwomen who insist only trans women can claim that term fail to acknowledge)is that the word tranny is used on transmen and genderqueers more often than those who would contend we(transmen/genderqueers) have no idea what it feels like to be victimized by this word, care to admit.

The Other Side

As one of the first transmen who became a drag queen (dressing in womens clothes doing femme numbers)in my city, I have had the word tranny used against me in hate, in spite and for no other visible reason than just because. I have felt the pain of a fist striking my face as my attacker shouted that bloody word as reason for his insanity. I have heard members of my own goddamned community use that word against me as a reason I could not be a drag queen and I have heard those same community members snarl that word as an explanation and epithet for my refusal to stop doing drag queen numbers.

I am not the only transman or genderqueer who has had that experience.

I have read hundreds of posts online in which transmen have described having that word used on them. I personally know nearly a dozen masculine presenting genderqueers who have been attacked while in public for being a “tranny”

The people who oppose the blanket ban on the use of the word often do so by citing the example of the black community and the “n word” They claim that just as the blacks reclaimed their own demon so too should the trans community reclaim our own lost word

I find myself in a bewilderment.

On the one side I myself sympathize with the transwomen’s contention and on the other side I find myself agreeing that those transmen who have felt the awesomely destructive power of the word tranny should reclaim it if they wish.

Let me be clear. If you haven’t had this word used against you in hate I would expect you to still use it if that is your choice, but I would also expect (read require/demand) you to use care with your treatment of it, for it holds a lot of power. If you don’t choose caution with this word then quite frankly you should be taken out back and shot for being a waste of good oxygen.

But to those who say that absolutely no one or no one who is not MtF identified I have this comment.

How fucking dare you.

You want to flatten the rights of others because your history has pain in it? That makes you no better than those who would slit your throat because of who you are, were or want to be. Life stinks but your hypocrisy is like mustard gas to the very freedom you claim to stand for. So if you are pro blanket ban or pro no transmen using the word I suggest you pull your head out your ass and give it a wipe.

Bottom line is this. Words are of the people. You cannot stop people using them nor should you try to do so if you wish to claim any civil rights or freedoms of any kind for yourself. This word has been bandied about too loosely by some and this has caused an overreaction by the other side. Neither of those scenarios is right and both sides need a fast slap (preferably with a sequined high heel)

Men, those are your sisters over there asking for a little tolerance and consideration. Women, across that divide are your brothers who have also been wounded by the same swords you have.

Stop all this bullshit pandering and contention and GROW UP.

Deep down you know that one day you will need the folks on the other side of the wall of tranny. Make sure that when that day comes you haven’t burnt your bridge over a word when a simple compromise would have sufficed.

  1. I am a trans woman. I use the word tranny. I think that is the only way to dissolve the power it has to oppress us.

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