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May 23, 2014 Comments Off on Mx Justin Vivian Bond Weighs In On “Tranny Gate”…And, V Isn’t Pleased With “The Word Police” Views: 1338 Arts & Entertainment, Drag

Mx Justin Vivian Bond Weighs In On “Tranny Gate”…And, V Isn’t Pleased With “The Word Police”

The photo used on Justin Vivian Bond's FB page for this statement on the "Tranny Gate" controversy.

The photo used on Justin Vivian Bond’s FB page for this statement on the “Tranny Gate” controversy.

In the earlier post today about “Tranny Gate”, the current crisis in the queer community focusing on certain militant members of the Trans* community’s insistence that all queer people MUST stop using the word “tranny” in any context, the focus was on the drag legend RuPaul and remarks he made confronting the protesters, including RuPaul’s advice to them:  Bitch, you need to get stronger. If you’re upset by something I said you have bigger problems than you think.”

I also quoted a brief Facebook post from the trans* performance artist/singer JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND, best known for their Tony Award nominated work in the cabaret duo, “Kiki & Herb” and a respected and very politically vocal member of the queer and trans* communities. Bond, who uses the gender neutral prefix “Mx” and the pronoun “v”, briefly criticized the anti-“tranny” protesters and referred to them as “fascist ‘word warriors'”.

Apparently, Mx Bond has decided v has more to say on the matter. V issued this long, passionate and frequently angry statement about the issue. 

(Note: this is the complete statement as posted on Mx Bond’s Facebook page. I did add paragraph breaks and Bold emphasis on key points to aid in reading.)

A Missive to My Community:

I’m writing this because I want to be very clear on where I come down on the recent controversies around the language issues with regards to our trans-narratives. I’ve been an advocate for finding new, inclusive, thoughtful and evolved language for those of us in the trans and gender non-conforming communities for some time now. Therefore I feel personally compelled to weigh in on these latest dramas that are really annoying the shit out of me. In my opinion there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with Heklina changing the name of Trannyshack in an effort to “rebrand” her legendarily inclusive, irreverent celebration of Queer fabulousness. But keep in mind that the reason she has “evolved” is because she’s been forced to due to harassment from a group of people who have decided that instead of learning from our queer history of re-appropriating, owning, and disempowering words that ACCURATELY DESCRIBE WHO AND WHAT WE ARE -instead of taking those words that are sometimes used to hurt us by those who WILL HATE US NO MATTER WHAT and making them a part of what makes us wonderful, a small group of vocal “queers” has decided it’s better pursue a shame-based agenda. Therefore, it seems, Heklina has decided it’s easier to “rebrand” her party to avoid any more grief. That’s her decision and I applaud her for doing what she feels she needs to do. It still makes me sad. I also think there was nothing wrong with the whimsical “Female or Shemale” game played on RuPaul’s Drag Race -especially because the contestants couldn’t even tell the difference. Hello! That’s revolutionary!!! Not to mention the amazing talent displayed later in the episode by the transgender artists on the show which has now been pulled from the air.

So. In lieu of standing up to the haters who seek to diminish us and our accomplishments and standing UNITED IN PRIDE IN OUR DIVERSITY these thoughtless “word police” instead go on the attack and achieve easy victories by harassing, silencing and shaming members of their own community and the allies who are thoughtful and sensitive enough to the reasons and feelings behind their anger that they are willing to listen and -as usual, blame themselves and make the changes because it’s just EASIER to “evolve” back into silent, bullied shame. What they fail to recognize is that by banishing the use of the word TRANNY they will not be getting rid of the transphobia of those who use it in a negative way. What it does do is steal a joyous and hard-won identity from those of us who are and have been perfectly comfortable, if not delighted to BE TRANNIES, but the fact is WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY. In case you didn’t know it WE’RE TOUGH! A reality check, if people think you are a tranny it’s because you are perceived as one. OWN IT! If they think that’s a bad thing then THEY ARE STUPID!

If you don’t wish to own that word or any other word used to describe you other than “male” or “female” then I hope you are privileged enough to have been born with an appearance that will allow you to disappear into the passing world or that you or your generous, supportive family are able to afford the procedures which will make it possible for you to pass within the gender binary system you are catering your demands to. If you’re capable of doing that then GO ON AND DISAPPEAR INTO THE PASSING WORLD! Otherwise quit using your big, privileged -yet ignorant- mouths to make the words used to describe who we are a shameful thing.

It is not shameful to be a tranny, a she-male, or any other word used to describe a gender variant individual. It’s shameful to harass people for being comfortable with who they are and the words they choose to use to describe themselves when you aren’t. That is my opinion on this ridicuous subject. As you can tell I’m angered by this trifling bullshit. We should be working on unifying our community and getting ourselves basic protections under the law. If everyone who is expending so much time and energy harassing their sisters about this word would harass their elected officials with the same amount of verve and fervor we’d be on the way to a much more trans-inclusive society.

These words were written in love and anger.

Mx Bond

It will be interesting to see how radical Trans* activists respond to Mx Bond’s strong statement. Many of the “Word Police” have dismissed the protests from RuPaul and other drag performers since they are not trans* identified and typically dismissed as privileged gay men who perform in dresses for money and attention. But, Mx Bond is a trans* identifying woman and a hugely admired trans* advocate and community leader.

Also, a brave one to boldly make their feelings known despite being “contrary” to radical trans* party lines.

Bravo, Mx Bond.

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