I was all set to write a happy little post about Christian Siriano retiring his catch phase, "hot tranny mess." Apparently someone clued him in that it might be offensive after he compared drag queens and trans people to "white trash." Maybe the light went on after hot pissed-off trans actress Candis Cayne ripped him a new one after he used the phrase on stage at the Logo NewNextNow Awards that she was hosting. Maybe he even read my open letter about why it's so not fierce when "tranny" is used by someone who isn't trans.
I was willing to overlook that it was one of those not-quite-an-apology "I wish that my words were not taken in that way" apologies that's all too common with public figures these days. And yes, he even mentioned that some of his best friends are trans. (BTW Christian, if you're reading this, just a heads-up, we trans people don't exist solely to provide you with fashion inspiration.) As I said before, I think it just never occurred to him that as a self-described "very flamboyant gay man" that he could say something that's considered derogatory speech, and I'm willing to overlook all that because I'm just glad that he publicly said he'd stop and maybe, just maybe, that would get other people to think twice about using it as a catch phrase.
What's got me not-so-happy are the comments on various gay blogs about how trans people are overreacting and picking on poor little Princess Puffysleeves. How come you're so humorless? Gawd you're so P.C. Can't you see it's a just a joke? What's the big deal anyway? We call each other faggots all the time, it's no big deal. Get it over! Not to mention, I'm sick of being hounded for not being properly appreciative of T people.
Funny how those arguments sound oh so familiar. I've heard the exact same things when I've asked clueless straight kids not to use "that's so gay" as a put-down. Or when women ask not to be called "bitches" and "hos." Or when the Sambo's restaurant chain was pressured to change its name.
To be honest, I had more respect for the out-and-out haters – did you know I'm a "breeder with a mental disorder"? – because at least with them there was no pretense. They'd probably get along swimmingly with the conservative bloggers (who I won't dignify with links) who had these recent headlines: "Shame on Dennis Hastert for joining tranny lobbist firm" and "Boycott NBC and its tranny sympathizers." (Companies that value LGBT diversity, the horror!)
And of course there was this: don't you have bigger things to worry about?
Well, yeah, actually I do. Trans people face hate crimes at a rate up to 16 times higher than gays and lesbians, yet we have to fight to be included in anti-hate crime laws. There's some segments of the trans communities where only one in four trans people have a full-time job and more than half live in poverty, yet we're asked to step aside so straight-acting gays and lesbians can get employment non-discrimination protections. Even when formal "transgender" protections are offered, crossdressers like myself are often excluded from them, and out in the every-day world they're too often ignored anyway.
The thing is, those are huge issues that are going to take time and effort to overcome. Whereas not referring to someone by a term they find offensive is a small thing. A simple thing. The human thing to do.
But evidentially even that is too much effort for some people.