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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pride Month Challenge - Day 25

This post is part of a series originally called "30 Day LGBT Challenge" which asks queer-related questions to be answered during Pride Month.  The original questions can be found here.

Day 25: The LGBT slur you hate most or if you’ve taken back a slur and used it as a definition, ie queer or fag.

I've taken most of them back before, at least ones that apply to me, although I don't currently use most of them.  I do use queer, and wrote a fairly in-depth description of "why" earlier.

I generally don't take back "fag," but I feel pretty neutral about it when used by queer people and I did use it in the past when I was really about using slurs for all my identities, not to mention I did identify as gay at the time (I didn't develop attraction to women until I was like 23 or 24) and although I would argue any man who loves men has the right to that word, it just doesn't really feel "me" anymore.

One point of contention is the word "tranny," which I used to use a lot back when trans people were regularly using it.  I really loved that word, but stopped because a trans woman said something about it being "only weaponized against trans women" and therefore trans men weren't "entitled" to using it.  As time goes by I agree with this less and less... I had had it "weaponized" against me, and see it used reasonably often by bigots whenever a trans man achieves some notoriety (if you think people don't use "tranny" to describe Chaz Bono or Thomas Beatie you aren't paying attention).  This word was also used by pretty much everybody not that long ago.  Kate Bornstein talks about it in this interview, and even Julia Serano (her work has driven a lot of trans discourse and words she coined are used time and time again to justify not using this word) used to use it in self-definition.

This word was defined as "appropriative" when used by trans men by people who assumed with no input from us that we didn't experience enough oppression to understand the word, during a time when basically all trans people were using it and cis people had already begun using it for us by association.  I'm super bitter about that.

But at the same time, I don't exactly miss the word, either.  The thing is, although I feel trans men were unfairly blamed for the situation, the reality is that trans people in general stopped using that word outside of a few groups (Kate Bornstein's people, for instance).  It just doesn't have the same radical connotation it did ten years ago, it's more grating than anything else.  So I don't use it and I cringe to hear it, but I do believe trans people in general are entitled to use it.

One of my favorite slurs that I despise is a combination of two of those:  "Trannyfag."  This was such a common word back in the day that you could find "trans 101" lists that matter-of-factly explained that "trannyfag" was just a general term for a gay trans man, which is super ridiculous.  I have yet to find a sillier reclamation of a slur than that one.