I recently came across a debate on the use of the derogatory term” tranny” between RuPaul and a now transgender Carmen Carrera.
I will now show my ignorance because I am not afraid to be a fool.
I grew up seeing Rupaul as this gorgeous model that was tall and had a wonderful figure. He made the song supermodel and made me believe I could be a model me being a very tall African American female and though those model dreams were dashed, I never stopped believing in myself. My vernacular may not be as extensive as some but I never used the word tranny to call someone who dressed other than their gender. The word was always transvestite and my youth spent with transvestites were limited to tv and some news reports.
As I got older, medical science then developed a way for people to change the sex the were born into another one. I knew that as a sex change operation. Again my interaction limited to what i read and news reports. These days, we seem to feel the need to shorten everything and changes terminologies. Sex change is now transsexual and now it is shorten to tranny which is considered derogatory.
Carmen Carrera was a contestant on Rupaul’s Drag Race on Logo. He was just a guy who was dressing in drag and then he became transgender. He is now living his life a female and has become a leader in the transgender community. Now being part of a minority that is consistently ridiculed, mocked and disrespected, I never realized how bad it was in th transgender community. I always thought that when someone has a sex change, they wish to live their life as their new sex. It is up to them to let the world know that they went though their personal life decision. Rupaul said that he as been a tranny for 32 years and while he has now problem with it, it seems the rest of the world does. Again because I do not travel in those circles, I did not realize the term tranny moved over to represent transsexuals.
It seems Carmen wants everyone to take the term out of their vocabulary and here in lies the problem. Language is and always gas been a clusterfuck. Some things catch on faster and meanings may change but words are forever. Trying to change people’s use of word is a war of frivolity.
I honestly see both sides of the argument but truth be told, I would have not known about Ms.Carrera had she not been on Rupaul’s Drag race. I am not sure how her popularity would have been had she not been on the show but I feel this could have been a private convo between her and Ru.
When you decide to put your life in the public eye and make announcements as to your life choices, you can’t honestly think that it is just a bubble. You will always have millions of eyes on you until no one cares anymore. If this is your bread and butter, you will have to take the good with the bad. Hateful and supportive comments. This is the new world we live in children. I think everyone has offended someone in their life and while it doesn’t make it right, it is gonna happen.
All we can do is educate and hopefully change a few minds.
I do hope that Rupaul and Carmen will work out their differences and as Rupaul says “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell can you love somebody else?”