Monday, May 30, 2011

Who is Little Orphan Trannie?



Author: Little Orphan Trannie

I've had people tell me that my stage name offends them. This is totally understandable; the word, "tranny" is derogative. Currently, there are many transgender people who are protesting the word and many transgender people who are reclaiming the word.

For me personally, the word "Tranny" is without a doubt offensive in the following ways:

-It's being used to "out" someone as transgender, as in "You can tell that person is a tranny"

-It's being used to fetishize a group, "We're going to the club to hunt for trannies"

-It's being said in a violent or hateful way "You are going to hell tranny"

These selected phrases (and more) have been directed towards me, therefore, I can use the name "Tranny" in reference to MYSELF if I so choose.

As far as non-offensive uses of the word, that all comes down to the context of the situation. However, unless you are a transgender-identified person, I would recommend leaving the word out of your vocabulary.

Even though I identify as transgender, I don't refer to anyone else as a tranny, for the reason that it is disrespectful and I believe it connotes internal transphobia and encourages external transphobia.

My personal motivation for including the word in my stage name is this, I don't want my audience to mistake me for a drag king/queen when I perform. I want my audience to immediately identify me as a transgender performer.

Interestingly enough, what I have encountered when using this name, is that people don't know if I am MTF or FTM. I don't tell them either. I have come up with numerous responses to avoid answering the question depending on the vibe I get from them and what mood I'm in. I've responded with phrases such as:

"Geez, at least buy me a drink before we talk about getting into my pants!"

"It depends... who's asking?"

"Have you always asked intrusive questions?"

"Let me write down a couple of websites and recommended reading materials for you."

"I'm a female to male to female to male...female...male?"

"Gosh, I don't even remember any more!"

"Are you the gender police?"

"I was just going to ask you the same thing!"

"Why don't we go back to your place and find out (Wink wink)"

Although my responses run the gamut from snarky to flirtatious, my goal is to make people question the purpose of needing to find out a person's gender.

Personally, when I have a conversation with someone, I don't need to know what kind of genitals they have/used to have/newly acquired ,etc. This information doesn't affect how I relate to them at all and it's really none of my damn business.

Ultimately, I believe that our society has enforced so many social constructs around gender, that people don’t know how to relate to someone who is ambiguous. I have enough compassion in my heart to understand this fact and am generally patient with people. However, I am still sadistic enough to want to make them sweat a little bit ;)

There is an assumption that transgender people hate their bodies. There is an assumption that transgender people who go into sex work have no other options.

I can’t speak for all transgender people. I can only speak for myself when I say that stripping is my method of activism, and I do sleep a little better at night knowing that people are questioning their gender, sexuality, or world view after having a good look at my sweet, sweet ass.

XO

Little Orphan Trannie

Queering people one lapdance at a time

3 comments:

  1. Most of the people i know who have a problem with the word feel something like this. The word tranny has been used almost exclusively as a derogatory term used to subjugate trans women, yet most of the people who have sot to "reclaim" the word in the years past have consistently been along the trans male spectrum.
    Also i'm personally not a fan of it being used in a jovial, playful way. I think it's a word that has a very violent context and should be treated with the gravity of any other slur.

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  2. I find it telling that, even though tranny is predominately used against trans women as a way to put them down, other them, and threaten their safety, this post does not mention trans women specifically. I'm so sick of folks who identify as trans men or transmasculine co-opting this word as if they can reclaim it in any way.

    Also, saying "I've been called a tranny" does not automatically give you some claim to that word, unless you're comfortable ignoring the past history of the word and who it is society thinks of when someone says tranny. Trust me, even though we (as a queer "community") seem to automatically think "trans guy", that is not the dominant image. If folks wants to pretend that isn't true, they can use their privilege to deny that all they want. I, for one, would not support a performer or event that capitalizes upon transmisogyny in such an open and willfully naive way.

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