10th November 2010
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i generally enjoy gawker, but i have to say that when i saw the headline: “Barak Obama’s Indonesian Tranny Nanny” i was highly offended. yes, yes you’re witty, you can rhyme while using a demeaning slur! what’s even more disheartening is that gawker has not responded to comments pointing out that “tranny” is offensive, inappropriate, and a slur. of course the responses of other gawker commenters is all in the attitude of “oh shut up you stupid politically correct liberals. why do you have to ruin it for everyone? it’s FUNNY.”
i’m sure that gawker would never use the “N word” in a story, and i’d venture a guess that they’re probably not going to use the word “fag”, yet they throw around “tranny” as though it is not a derogatory term. an attitude of nonchalance regarding verbal harassment of trans people is simply not acceptable although it is common-place even within the lgbtq community. labels like “tranny” allow us to designate someone different as “other” and if we do not see them as a person it is very easy to not only verbally attack them but to physically attack them as well.
interestingly enough, gawker’s “sister site” jezebel has an article from june of this year that includes a discussion on the word “tranny”:
Kaveney writes… prejudice “starts with name-calling, but it doesn’t always end there.” Violence begins with words, starting with hate-speech and slurs. Furthermore, the words we use are always important, even within a community.
Please take a moment to let gawker know that using the word “tranny” is not funny, it is insensitive to a marginalized group of individuals who experience discrimination and violence on a daily basis. 90% of transgender youth reported feeling unsafe at school because of their gender expression; and 55% have experienced physical violence according to GLSEN. acceptance of hate speech and slurs does nothing but make it even that much harder for trans individuals and youth.
You can email gawker’s editor in chief Remy Stern <firstname.lastname@example.org> and contact him via twitter @remystern please take a moment to speak out and let gawker know that using words like “tranny” is not ok!