What’s In A Word? Context, Ya Fag!

in Opinion

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:

queerty.jpg

When I think of the use of the word tranny, I think of the words of George Carlin:

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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.

Marti Abernathey is the founder of the Transadvocate and the previous managing editor. Abernathey has worn many different hats, including that of podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist. She's been a part of various internet radio ventures such as TSR Live!, The T-Party, and The Radical Trannies, TransFM, and Sodium Pentathol Sunday. As an advocate she's previously been involved with the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance, Rock Indiana Campaign for Equality, and the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition. She's taken vital roles as a grass roots community organizer in The Indianapolis Tax Day Protest (2003), The Indy Pride HRC Protest (2004), Transgender Day of Remembrance (2004), Indiana's Witch Hunt (2005), and the Rally At The Statehouse (the largest ever GLBT protest in Indiana - 3/2005). In 2008 she was a delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention and a member of Barack Obama's LGBT Steering and Policy Committee.

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