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May 23, 2014 Comments (1) Views: 2432 Arts & Entertainment, Drag

Both RuPaul & Mx Bond Jump Into “Tranny Gate”

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It seems like iconic drag performer RuPaul has had it up to HERE with charges by certain members of the Trans* community that the star’s LOGO television show is transphobic for using the term “she-male/she-mail” and by the recent controversies surrounding the use of the word “tranny” by drag queen performers to refer to themselves. Heklina, the star/creator of the beloved San Francisco drag show TRANNYSHACK announced earlier this week that after a considerable amount of pressure from militant members of the Trans* community, the name of the show would be changed over the course of the next few months. While some members of the Trans* community were delighted, other community members both trans* and queer were not so pleased and charged that the use of the word “tranny” is acceptable usage by drag performers. “Tranny” is considered by many to be a shortening of the term “transvestite” the original “clinical” name applied to any man wearing women’s clothing. Drag performers long ago reclaimed the use of the word, while some members of the Trans* community find it to be an unacceptable slur and not allowable to be used at all, in any context.

An obviously annoyed RuPaul responded to transphobic charges with a fierce rebuttal to certain members of the Trans* community:

“Does the word ‘tranny’ bother me? No. I love the word ‘tranny.’ … It’s not the transexual community who’s saying that. These are fringe people who are looking for storylines to strengthen their identity as victims. That is what we are dealing with. It’s not the trans community. ‘Cause most people who are trans have been through hell and high water… But some people haven’t and they’ve used their victimhood to create a situation where, ‘No! You look at me! I want you to see me the way you’re supposed to see me!’ You know, if your idea of happiness has to do with someone else changing what they say, what they do, you are in for a fucking hard-ass road… I dance to the beat of a different drummer. I believe everybody — you can be whatever the hell you wanna be, I ain’t stopping you. But don’t you dare tell me what I can do or what I can’t — say or can’t do. It’s just words, like, ‘Yeah, you hurt me!’ Bitch, you need to get stronger. If you’re upset by something I said you have bigger problems than you think.”

– RuPaul Charles, responding to charges that his show, RuPaul’s Drag Race is transphobic and recent controversies over the use of the word “tranny” by drag queen performers in an interview on the podcast, WTF with Marc Marron.

More level headed fans of RuPaul and the show, RuPaul’s Drag Race  have pointed out that transphobic charges are ridiculous. The World of Wonder produced show has won acclaim and recognition for its sensitive handling of contestants who have identified as trans* including Season Two’s Sonique, (who came out on camera during that season’s reunion show); Season Three’s Carmen Carrera and Season Five’s Monica Beverly Hillz who tearfully came out on the second episode of that season and was positively handled by RuPaul and the producers of the show.

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Legendary Tony Award nominated performance artist Justin Vivian Bond also had something to say about “TrannyGate” this week.

But, RuPaul isn’t the only queer celebrity to jump into the “TrannyGate” fray. Mx Justin Vivian Bond, the singer and performer who shot to fame as part of “Kiki & Herb” has written some harsh words on Facebook criticizing “word warriors”:

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While some Trans* “word warriors” would dismiss RuPaul’s opinion due to RuPaul not identifying as trans* but just as a drag performer, Justin Vivian Bond comes from an entirely different place. The respected performer is also a highly respected and politically committed queer and trans* activist who does identify as trans* and prefers the gender-inclusive honorific “Mx” and pronoun “v”. Despite some politically correct members of the Trans* community claiming “party unity” in this issue, it appears that not all Trans* and Queer identified people agree on “ownership” and the use of a highly politicized word.

Perhaps, BOTH sides actually taking the time to listen and reasonably discuss the issue instead of screaming and not listening, could lead to some unity and compromise.

 

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