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Kelly Osbourne’s hot ‘tranny’ mess

BY ROB SALERNO – I’m a little flabbergasted that commenters are still duking it out over my post last week about trans activists glitter-bombing Dan Savage.

For the record, I agree that if a person doesn’t want to be labelled “tranny” or “shemale,” you probably shouldn’t use those words. Probably

The thing is: the language has changed remarkably over the years, particularly as trans people have become more vocal and organized. Moreover, some trans people aren’t upset by the word tranny — I knew trans people, when I was coming out 11 years ago, who used the word. And both words are still frequently used in porn for reasons that might not have to do with trans-misogyny at all (comprehension by the target market probably being the most likely reason).

The same is true of how the accepted terms for gay people evolved over time. “Homosexual” fell out of favour (even though it’s not necessarily considered offensive) because it sounds so clinical. To be honest, the word transsexual has that same overly clinical ring to me, but it’s no skin off my neck if that’s what a person wants to call themselves. The word queer goes back and forth on whether or not it’s perjorative; and even though more and more people are claiming it as a descriptor, we get comments and letters complaining about it each time we print it.

Context also matters, of course. Jerry Falwell can make the word homosexuals sound as hateful as Fred Phelps saying “fags.” I imagine “chick with a dick” is probably a big no-no, too, but then again, Jerry Springer: The Opera has a downright moving song called “Chick with a Dick with a Heart.”

Either way, I don’t really have much defence for Kelly Osbourne, who’s been slammed for describing her ex-fiancé’s mistress, transgender model Elle Schneider, in British Glamour as a “tranny” and “chick with a dick":

Everyone kept telling me that Luke was cheating on me, but I never
believed them. It’s hard enough to get your head around someone cheating
on you, but when someone is a chick with a d**k? Up until then, I’d
always thought that the worst way to get cheated on would be with an
ugly girl.

Worse than either term used there is, in my opinion, Osbourne’s suggestion that a “chick with a dick” is, in some way, beneath her and beneath all other ugly girls.

That said, Osbourne has apologized for her comments and suggested that she was quoted out of context in the article. I won’t Storify her whole Twitter feed, but you can catch most of the major points in her feed from about Nov 1. She says she’s working with GLAAD to resolve the situation

Now isn’t this a better solution? Mistake made, dialogue established, apology extracted, amends made? Compare to the glitter-bomb situation and see the results are so much better.

Now how do we get the Sun to apologize and correct itself for describing Osbourne as a “pop singer turned reality-TV star"? There’s at least three things wrong with that description.

Also this week, Toronto musician and author Vivek Shraya releases his new EP, 1:1. Here’s a teaser:

 

If you’re in Toronto, he’ll be throwing a launch party at the Holy Oak Café (1241 Bloor St W at Dufferin St) on Thursday, Nov 10 at 8:30pm. 


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