acceptance of tranny 'transsexual'

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Sun Apr 10 23:57:11 UTC 2005

In a LiveJournal discussion about the in-progress sex change of someone I
have met, I used the word "trannies" (= 'transsexuals'), then added:
  Hmmm... "trannies" isn't offensive, is it? If it is, then I apologize, and
what word is preferable?

"Postvixen" replied (quoted by permission):
  It depends on who you ask. :) One of my roommates was a trans activist and
gender studies major in college and I hear her say "f***ing neurotic
trannies" once every couple of weeks (with a wry smile, of course). :) I'll
use "trannies" around my friends, and I'll generally use "transpeople" or
"transgendered people" around folks who don't know me as well.

I think it's like a lot of other epithets -- it depends on the context and
the experiences of the listener. I've met a couple of people, usually older
transgendered people, who absolutely will not suffer the term in their
presence. The term is often used in pornography, so it has connotations of
dehumanization and fetishization. But on the other hand, the younger trans
crowd seems perfectly comfortable using it in group names, event flyers, and
so forth. Unfortunately, there's also a degree of political correctness
around it, in that trans people are more likely to get away with it...

-- Mark A. Mandel
[This text prepared with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.]

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