I know I have this obsession with words. I’ve never particularly liked Queerty.com because it’s posts on transfolk generally border on bad taste/transphobia. The most recent edition sports this headline:
When I think of the use of the word tranny, I think of the words of George Carlin:[kml_flashembed movie="http://lads.myspace.com/videos/vplayer.swf" width="430" height="346" fvars="m=598001949;type=video"/]
The point being, if you are a transgender person and you say tranny, it’s acceptable because the intent isn’t negative or hateful. But if your not, it’s a bigoted and derogatory thing to say. My son is gay, and I hear him call his gay friends “homo and fag” all the time. I know he’s not homophobic, BECAUSE HE’S GAY!
“You throw that football like a girl!” The previous sentence has no “fag,” no “queer,” or any other “bad word” in it. But the connotation is that being a women are weak, frail, and unable to physically throw a football. It is the person saying the words and the context that they are used that make them “good” or “bad” words.
While I don’t suggest that anyone should use words like fag, tranny, or any other “tainted” words, I don’t think that when they are used by someone in target group the word is supposed to represent, they aren’t meant to hurt.
As always, context is king.