Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Overpolicing Language? Seriously?

TransGriot Note:  I read this essay Fallon Fox posted to her Facebook page concerning the still simmering controversy over serial transphobe RuPaul's use of terms the trans community has repeatedly told him were dehumanizing to our community and his white gay male fanbase rushing to defend him. 

The predominately white gay male supporters of RuPaul are holding up any trans woman who seems to side with him as a human shield to bash the rest of us with.  

Why?  Because they are hypocritically pissed off transpeople of all ethnicities had the temerity to do what they have done for decades.  We called and are STILL calling his azz out for using the 'shemale' and 't----y' terms we find offensive to our community and LOGO listened.

LOGO pulled the offending show with the female or shemale game form their site and will no longer used the offensive words on it and elements of the white gay male community are tripping.   What part of 'the trans community will decide what words are or aren't offensive to it' do you not get?  

The latest entry in that small minority of RuPaul trans defenders besides Calpernia Addams and Andrea James is Our Lady J, who recently penned an essay published in the Huffington Post that Fallon is rebutting here.

It deserves a signal boost.   And now, here's Fallon's essay.

**Warning - I'm spelling out derogatory words in this post in order to discuss an important issue.****

Is it true that Ru Paul recently complained to Amanda Byrnes use of the term 'faggot' in a tweet, stating: "Derogatory slurs are ALWAYS an outward projection of a person's own poisonous self-loathing." Just saw that online. That, and the Huffington post article by Our Lady J. I know, I'm a little late on that one.

I disagree with Our Lady J on this. 'Drag Queen' is an occupation created primarily in gay culture, in similar fashion, 'Rap artist' is an occupation created primarily by black culture.

Some people argue that 'shemale' is a harmless fun word. You ever Google the word 'shemale'? If not, then I suggest you do. See what you come up with. It's pages and pages of porn. While I like porn myself and see nothing intrinsically wrong with it, (other than the exploitation some porn entities use) - I do not appreciate the language alluding to me being a porn star or sex worker. Because that's what that word actually means.

It's that whole 'chick with a dick' derogatory language from cisgender people I've had to endure for years. No, there's nothing wrong with a woman with a penis. Nothing at all. But, that whole she-male term is wrapped around a very real history of forced sex work and porn. I say forced, because for the most part the trans women who have engaged in those occupations over the years have done so, because of lack of opportunity as trans women. It's pretty much slavery or a type of servitude in some situations. One needs the money to transition or risk losing ones sanity. One needs a job for that. But, one can't find or hold down a job in many situations if one is trans. So, where does that person go...? No other options but sex work or porn in many situations. Trans women are forced out of the openness of general society into a narrow channel that leads to sex work of some kind. And we are forced to endure the labeling of those outside of us. Labeling that seeks to never let us escape us being reduced to genitalia.

Look at the word shemale. We didn't pick this word for ourselves.
SHEMALE = "She" (female in mind ) + "male" (in the pants).

It was meant to mark trans women, and pin us down to what's in our pants pre-surgery (if we elect for it). It was derogatory.

See here:
I remember when I first stepped foot in a drag bar. It was the only safe space I could find in town that I lived. Yes, some drag queens called themselves tranny, or she-male. And they got me to do it very briefly. But, as time went on, I realized how different I was from that drag mentality. I realized that I was trans, not gay. I was offered many times to be a performer because of my potential 'passability'. However, I declined, as I also realized one important thing about myself. I was not a parody of a woman. I was not seeking to be a parody of a woman even temporarily. I wanted to embody 'woman' both inside and out at all times. And not a hyper feminized, non realistic, rigid unmalleable version of one confined to a bar in the secluded side of town either. No, an intelligent, respected woman who had 'options', and held an occupation in spaces straight cisgender people did.

One thing is for sure. If I ever see a Cuban rap artist hold a TV show, have other Cuban rap artists come on the show, then tell those rappers to pick which rap artist in ANY ethnicity or a "nigger", depending on the partial photo presented, I'm going to lose it.

I don't care if Cubans and blacks are under the same umbrella of 'people of color'. I don't care if both of us face discrimination. I wouldn't give Cubans a free pass to hold a tv show and use that harmful word at blacks expense.

Let's look at the word 'nigger'. Where did that come from? The exploitation and hatred of black people in this country. Yes, they loved the benefits they got from us when we were slaves. They marketed us as 'niggers'. I'm quite sure if slavery was still in use today, you could do a google search for 'nigger' and come up with pages of pages of people trying to sell you a 'niggers' service.

Again, where did 'she-male' come from? The exploitation and hatred of trans women in this country. Yes, they loved, and still love, the benefits they get from us as sex workers and porn stars. They market us as 'she-males'. Some of us got lucky. We found ways around this horrible servitude. But, many of us would like out. Many of us want an education. Many of us are stuck, and living similarly to newly released slaves. Some of us see no potential for escape of the framing, no potential life outside of sex work, porn, or drag and accept the term. Some just decide to embrace it. Some, (and this is very, very rare) just like the ring of it. You can find some of them online if you search. Don't worry, it's not hard. Just type in 'shemale', and observe pages and pages of entities trying to sell you a 'shemales' service.

I realize that black oppression and trans oppression are different. But, they do have very striking similarities. And as a black woman I have no problem with pointing them out. It makes sense, and is important to do so in order to attempt to fix the similar problems that plague both minority classes.

...But wait, there's more.

I ask a few questions. And they are open for anyone to answer. And you may have already thought of it.
Are black people who call themselves 'nigger' or 'nigga' (and identify as such-which is rare), similar to trans women calling themselves 'she male' or 'tranny' (and identify as such-which is rare also)?

Are black people who call themselves 'nigger' or 'nigga' (and identify as black- which is common), similar to trans women calling themselves 'shemale' or 'tranny' (and identify as trans - which is also common... Kind of)?

I think so. And how does all of that relate to the topic of Ru Paul's she-male game?

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