GLAAD vs. 'Glee': Is 'tranny' a bad word? | EW.com

News | PopWatch

GLAAD vs. 'Glee': Is 'tranny' a bad word?

the-Situation-Mike-Chang

the-Situation-Mike-ChangImage Credit: MTV; Miranda Penn Turin/FoxGlee and Jersey Shore don’t have much in common. One show features peppy outcasts with a song in their heart. The other features gym-freak beach bums dancing on the grave of western civilization. But both have come under fire recently from GLAAD for the same offense: making fun of transsexuals. The Jersey Shore outcry makes some sense – when the gang talked about The Situation’s dalliance with a transgender woman, their cultural sensitivity level hovered somewhere between “Drunk Winston Churchill” and “Drunk Fifth-Grader” – but the organization’s stance against Glee is a bit more complex.

On last week’s Rocky Horror-themed episode, Mike Chang had a throwaway line about how his parents didn’t want him “dressing like a tranny.” GLAAD responded to the line on their blog: “The casual manner in which the word was used is jarring … many still don’t realize that using the term is hurtful, dehumanizing and associated with violence.” GLAAD notes other uses of the term – on How I Met Your Mother, on The A-List: New York, and as Christian Siriano’s catchphrase on Project Runway. All of which leads me to ask: Is “tranny” a bad word?

I always thought that “tranny” was similar to “gay,” a word that was okay to use unless it was wielded in some sort of pejorative sense. (“That’s so gay!” is offensive, but just saying the word “gay” is not necessarily offensive). However, GLAAD seems to be saying that “tranny” is more like the f-word-that-also-means-“cigarette”-in-England, a term that is offensive no matter what the context.

The other twist, of course, is that the same episode of Glee also featured a key lyric change from “transsexual” to “sensational.” So, in summation: major media corporations think “transsexual” is a bad word, and activist groups think that “tranny” is a bad word. PopWatchers, can we meet in the middle somewhere? Do you think that “tranny” is a bad word? More to the point, do you think that Glee’s use of the word was offensive?

Read more:
‘Jersey Shore’ to edit segment about transgender woman
The dilemma about ‘The Dilemma’
‘The Dilemma’ is already one of the most important films of 2011
‘Gay’ controvesy: Studio releases new ‘Dilemma’ trailer
‘The Dilemma’: Universal deletes ‘gay’ scene from trailer
GLAAD urges Universal to pull controversial ‘Dilemma’ trailer from theaters

More from Our Partners