While I know that some transgender/transsexual people are trying to reclaim the word “tranny” I have to disagree with its use by anyone. The use of this by transgender/transsexual people allows those who are not in the affected group to believe it’s acceptable. The use of this slang is considered dehumanizing and once certain groups are stigmatized as morally inferior, and not fully human, the persecution of those groups becomes more psychologically acceptable. Restraints against aggression and violence begin to disappear. When you consider there are groups trying to raise awareness of those TG/TS persons who are killed each year for just being themselves, I hope you can see that further dehumanization is not a good idea.
In a letter to the editor entitled “Why Transgender Day of Remembrance is important“, Mara Keisling, Executive Director of National Center for Transgender Equality, stated:
One of the reasons that we don’t use the word “tranny” at NCTE is because we’ve heard too many stories of violence. We know that when someone hears that word, it often heralds the beginning of an attack. And words matter when we look at hate crimes; the language used is, in fact, part of how we determine if something is a hate crime, because words are one of the weapons used to hurt the target of the violence. Because in a hate crime, damage is done to hearts and spirits as well as to bodies-and sadly, that’s the perpetrator’s point. We hear regularly, especially over the past few weeks, from transgender people who tell us that “tranny” is a word that feels hostile and hurtful to them. We shouldn’t use words that cause pain to others, especially when the word is one that, horrifyingly, transgender people hear as they are being bludgeoned. We have to use our words differently than that.
I know that others will disagree with me but I find this word is hateful and no amount of reclamation will take away the poison. I wish there was some way to take the hate out of it but there isn’t. I also wish for world peace.
A general non-trans essay on dehumanization. Please read the subject “The Psychology of Dehumanization”
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Why Transgender Day of Remembrance is important – Mara Keisling – Executive Director of National Center for Transgender Equality – November 20th, 2010