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Neil Partick Harris Says “Tranny” On TV! LGBT Blogosphere Goes Crazy! But Is This Our Biggest Problem?

I LOVE my trans sisters and brothers, I really do.  I try to include as many transgender and transsexual stories here at Back2Stonewall.com as I can.  And I always do my best to to get my “terms” correct.  But sometimes people slip and make mistakes and thats what happened to  Neil Patrick Harris’ today while doing a guest-hosting stint on “Live With Kelly” when  after taking part in an “anti-helium” Sulfur Hexafluoride gas experiment, which, distorts one’s voice to a lower register.  NPH in his new lower voice said the famous   “It puts the lotion in the basket” line said by “The Silence of the Lambs” villain, Buffalo Bill and after alot of banter and laughs as Harris and Ripa were walking off the gag set , Harris said, “I’ve never sounded more like a tranny in my life.”

Trans-bloggers wenr ballistic and  rightfully condemned the use of the word and the comparison to the “Buffalo Bill character”

 Now NPH should have know better and he probably does.  It was stupid and insenstive.  But it wasn’t malicious or used intentionally as a “slur”.

He also issued an apology immediately after realizing what he said and before GLAAD,  an organization which should really start putting its resources into more major problems like mainstream news media outlets using hate group leaders as pundits were able to issue a statement and jump into the limelight.

It’s heartening to see a celebrity of Harris’ stature recognize and apologize for using the slur in such a timely manner, and for greater media attention being paid to its use.  Many people do not realize that the word “tr*nny” is one of the most hurtful and dehumanizing slurs that transgender people hear.  Most transgender people associate that word with personal experiences of violence, hatred and derision.

GLAAD is reaching out to Mr. Harris about the incident.

Why?  It’s over and he apologized. Does GLAAD want a donation?

Now “Tranny” is a bad word.  As well is “dyke”, “homo”, “fag”, ect. in context

But humour is subjective and frankly, we all use off color and yes, derogatory terms to get a laugh.  And Trans performers are no exception,.   Is everyone who uses the word “fag” or “Homo”  a homophobe?   If so then I’m one.  Is every black American who used the word “n*****” racist?  Don’t think so.  Is everyone who uses the word “tranny” transphobic?  No.  It’s not the preferred word albeit, but it is in the end it is just a word.

 Bottom line, WE (and that does includes the Trans community as well) need to pick out battles more effectively and stop cannibalizing ourselves over “words”  We have bigger problems and issues that face us as a community and as a family.

I love my trans-family.  But lets not use an issue like this to drive a wedge win the community when we should be battling those who say and do far worse against us.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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