Dan Savage says "tranny", college campus goes nuts

Linky

There are also two editorials:
Defending the IoP
Demanding an apology
This was hosted by the Institute of Politics on campus, and is billed as an “off-the-record” seminar. It obviously wasn’t off the record, because news of it happening sure spread quickly. Now what exactly “it” is is a bit unclear. I guess the word “tranny” was used at one point, although you couldn’t tell it from the article. Did Savage call someone a tranny? Did he reference a past time in his life when he did so? Was he talking about how slurs are used? It’s pretty unclear what the context was.

Anyways, a petition gets circulated, evidently with 1100 signatures. I thought that was a little premature, given that it’s entirely unclear exactly what happened, and I can guarantee that there weren’t 1100 people at the seminar. But whatever, signing a petition takes no effort or understanding of the issue. Signs go up in buildings denouncing whatever happened. General outrage ensues.

What I find interesting is most of the outrage is directed not at Savage, the person who said whatever was said, but at the IOP, I guess for inviting him. Or letting him talk. Or something.

Anyways, as you can probably tell from the tone of this post, this elicited a big eye roll from me. However, I also recognize that as a straight white male from middle America, I might not be the best person to pass judgement. So what do you think? Was Savage wrong for saying whatever he said? Was the IOP wrong for inviting him? Does the IOP owe anyone an apology?

My answers are “not enough information”, “no”, and “no”

It might be worth pointing out that letters to Savage’s sex advice column used the salutation “Hey faggot.” (Don’t know if they still do.) He used it as a means of reclaiming that word from those who would use it as an insult. There may be something similar at work here.

However, not being trans, Dan had no right to use it. No N-word privilege, so to speak. He should’ve fucking known better.

Oh please. If you’re talking about a word, then talk about the word in question without using euphemisms.

If your going to attend a lecture/talk/conversation that is in part talking about reclaiming language (Dan Savage often talks about how various groups shouldn’t let others define them and that they can reclaim those words for a more positive/neutral purpose) - you really can’t get offended when someone uses those words.

And to call him biphobic, misogynistic and whatever else was in one of those links really ruins any credibility of the writer. Yes he has said stuff that some people don’t agree with - he is dealing with very, very touchy subjects, but claiming that many bis are actually gays that haven’t figured it out yet (I am not doing justice to his viewpoints) and things like that - doesn’t make you hate bisexuals.

Jesus - this guy is as progress as you can get.

Because some transsexual got their panties in a bunch over the use of the word “tranny” in a discussion about language - is beyond ridiculous. I’m not sure that is exactly what happened, but this stuff is just obvious bullshit.

I’m sure the person was offended - it (her choice in pronoun - not mine) apparently ran from the room crying.

The attacks I see against Dan Savage are almost always silly.

It’s people like this that harm progress for transsexuals - not Dan Savage. Trying to prevent one the best advocates for LGBT rights to appear at other forums based on his/her/its disagreement on your pet peeve - is selfish.

Huh - I didn’t know Tranny was a no-no now.

No kidding?

I’m seriously not trying to be offensive it just seems that I never know what the right word is anymore, and using one word upsets some that others find acceptable. (I’m not saying that is the case for this word) Granted I don’t have any interactions with any (jesus christ almighty help me here what word, what word?) trans-gendered individuals (that I know of :eek:)

But I agree, generally, with OP. In order to have a frank discussion on any topic with any sort of progress you need to put aside your sensitivities for a moment. If not the conversation just gets stalled by hurt feelings the entire time. In my opinion, when that happens the conservative side to the issue is just going to hate even more.

I think part of it may be generational - I remember this post on reddit explaining that older transsexuals used the word ‘tranny’ to refer to themselves, so thinking it is a slur would be bizarre to them.

Combine that with Savage’s well-known desire to take slurs back and make them positive terms instead of euphemisms, and I think the petitioners have no leg to stand on.

I had to add the relevant Blur song to this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRWbX96wLUA

Weird. I remember reading a letter to Savage Love wherein the writer used the word ‘tranny’, and Dan called him out for it.

I’d be very surprised to hear that Dan used it as anything other than a reclamation or in a meta-discussion.

As someone who knows some transsexuals, this sudden swelling of outrage confuses me. They call each other (and themselves) “trannies” all the time.

After the recent Time cover, I asked them about the use of the word, and they basically said that they don’t know why people are getting their panties in a bunch.

What’s happening here is people using their outrage as a weapon to shame other people into compliance. I have noticed this is common with Social Justice types, particularly younger ones. It’s impossible to have a normal discussion with them without all the tone policing going on.

None of the current PC nonsense is really anything new. It’s the same crap from 20 or so years ago, only now we have people taking it out for a spin with the new social media technology. I think people have begun to recognize this and their tolerance for it is starting to wear thin.

I think transsexuals have done a terrible job promoting understanding about themselves. For starters, I don’t even know if “transsexual” is a term they accept. They’re too focused on arguing about nomenclature and not focused on helping non-transsexuals understand who and what they are.

I’m offended by the concept of an off the record seminar. If you’re speaking in public, you’re not off the fucking record. This is not the first time I’ve seen this and it’s idiotic. Anyway, the editorial defending the organization says this:

I’m also offended by calling words “the n-word” or “the t-word” like we’re all kindergarteners. Moving on: not everybody is on board with the idea of reclaiming slurs, obviously, and they’re within their rights to feel that way. You can say Savage is wrong about reclaiming any word of this one in particular. But protesting the group specifically seems off-base. Students are within their rights to disagree but they’re wrong to try to preempt the discussion. If this petition got 1,100 signatures - not that that means much of anything - I’m guessing a lot of signers were under the impression that someone had been called a tranny.

I think you’re wrong to assume people have been paying attention to what transgendered people say about themselves. You’re right that these discussions can get academic and confusing, but as an outsider it seems like we’re barely getting past the ‘huh huh, this dude just decided he’s a chick. What a nut!’ stage.

As far as the word itself goes… no, it sounds like not every transgendered person objects to it. But some do, and we seem to have a situation where both sides presume to speak for the other. I’d never use it anyway, but seeing as how it can be used as a slur, if I were of a mind to ever say it I wouldn’t do so unless I knew the people I was speaking to weren’t offended by it.

I wonder if the hypersensitivity to the word extends to its other use:

“Hey Carl, check out the new tranny in that car!”
Every tumblerista in a ten mile radius blows a gasket
“Yeah, looks to be a modified six speed. I’d sure like to see the clutch plates on that baby!”

Or would that be tooting a bit too loudly on the dog whistle?

It’s by-the-by, but see the Chatham House Rule. In the UK at least, this is a not-uncommon convention applied for seminars. There may be plenty of good reasons to protect the anonymity of someone speaking in a forum.

Back to the OP, RuPaul has also copped flack for using the word tranny. I think this is a little silly - transgender activists would be better off saving their energies for attacking their enemies, not their allies - but perhaps the balance is slowly shifting on this word. The LA club Trannyshack is changing its name. Its London namesake, OTOH, remains unchanged.

As mine eyes rolleth like slot machine reels. The world will not be Nerfed to prevent pea-princesses from getting bruised. What a travesty.

I know hundreds of transsexuals personally, and have interacted with more than a thousand impersonally, and no one I know who is not a crossdresser uses the word “tranny.”

I know of and of course can Google transwomen who use the word. I also know African Americans who call each other “nigger”, but they are in an incredible minority.

A dear friend of mine who was being interviewed once said “do you know why the word ‘tranny’ is so offensive? Because it’s often one of the last words heard before a transperson is beaten, raped, or murdered.” And she was speaking from personal experience.

I also wish cisgender people would stop telling me and my community, who are on the front lines of our battle for civil rights and respect, what we should be expending our energy on or feeling upset over. It’s one thing to sit at home on your computer typing “gosh, why are they so upset?”, and another thing to experience it. I was at a city council meeting last night face to face with religious bigots who hated me and my people, slurred me, muttered threats, most with the word “tranny” included. I have the experience to speak from authority on how it feels.

Or you haven’t been listening or reading. Progressive, inclusive, non-confrontational transgender people can be found speaking and writing about ourselves and our community every day. And there is a 500-plus post thread right here too.

Yes transsexual is a proper word. So is transgender. I prefer to be called transsexual because my transition is complete so it is more accurate.

Perhaps it’s because people are stretching the concept beyond its intended boundaries, but I remain skeptical here. If you’re speaking in public, you have no right to demand people not quote you.

I don’t think RuPaul is transgendered. And unfortunately this is a rhetorical trap: either you get flack for criticizing your allies, or you get flack for giving your allies a pass and criticizing your enemies.

I was ready to say we should be careful because you don’t know what this individual has been through, but after a fuller reading… jeez.

From the article in the OP:

In the context quoted in the article in the OP, I think it is silly and ignorant to take offense. It’s like someone saying “Mark Twain often used the word ‘nigger’” was the same as me calling someone that. And the request for “t-word”…Jesus. I must admit, if I had been there I would have told “Hex” to listen for comprehension and simmer down.

That aside, use of the word directed specifically towards a person is offensive, as I have posted.