On Glitter, Transphobia, and Hate Speech


Dan, I am getting mighty pissed at my own community. Several seem to get their tranny panties in a bunch over any perceived insult. Sorry for the glitter bomb, not all of us trannies thought you deserved it.
200 comments by 6:00pm Pacific.
Shemale shemale shemale shemale shemale.

Grow the fuck up, people. Dan has done more for the alphabet-soup world than just about anybody alive. If that's not good enough for you, maybe you're the one with the problem.
Cheeses and crackers! They should save their bullshit for their real enemies. Assholes. This is what happens as every fucking word gets banned because somebody is a cry baby.
Dan, I've been reading your column for 10 years. You're a lot of things, but certainly not transphobic or sexist, as others claim. People who say that need to a) work on their reading comprehension, b) remember who the real enemies are and c) lighten the fuck up once in a while.
"Any honest reader of my column.... knows that I'm not only not transphobic, I'm pro-trans."

As one of those people, yup, I know it's true and therefore I knew that the glitter bombing stories were bullshit. I think it's more a matter of the PC police than the trangender police. I wouldn't read Dan Savage if he was PC.

Just read Tobi Hill-Meyer's response to someone correcting her that Dan was only re-reading the question: http://www.bilerico.com/2011/11/dan_sava… She says then don't quote the question--change the words. Total PC thought police.
And Matt, you're way off. By 6 p.m., it'll be well over 300.
yeah people- cut Danny some slack!

he's the Faggot Al Sharpton;

sure he is a lying bigot sack of shit

butt he's OUR lying bigot sack of shit...
butt we especially luv all the bitch squealing when the PC police turn their wrath on a HomoLiberal Hero.
we thought you girls said glitterbombing was good clean fun and only uptight pricks got upset about it....
@ 7, I've never been much of a gambler. I only take safe bets.
Ah. But 300 is a safe bet. We've already got the troll frothing at the mouth. Once SB gets here, it's up, up and away.
That troll responsible for posts 8 and 10 continues to slay me. It's like he sits around waiting for Savage to post something just so he can make up a silly name and continue his crusade. I picture him sitting in a room with no windows, the only light emanating from his computer monitor as he continually refreshes Slog on Internet Explorer. He mutters an awful lot, in my minds eye.
Misled. You were misled. Not mislead. Mislead is in the present indicative tense, not the past.

True fact: I was probably 25 before I stopped pronouncing that word "myzlled", and I didn't get caught out until I used IT in the present: "misle". "Don't try and misle me".

Talk about your freaks.
Having attended one of these, not this specific event, I can confirm that you read the cards exactly as written. I think I heard a variation of this question back then. I can't see why you would do something different this time.

Yes, you sparkle something wonderful as always, Dan. And, I'm glad that it doesn't seem to trouble you. Clearly there are some very wounded feelings amongst our brothers and sisters, though. Can we help with soothing those feelings, is their a better, neutral terms that can be used instead of those one sees in the alt weeklies? I don't think ignoring the complaint will work, glitter bombing may lead to further bombing and/or worse, because they see you as appointing yourself their representative and not listening to them (Read the thread discussions). Maybe using more neutral terms is a way to show them that it gets better for them too?

Take care, Dan. Keep up the good work.
Well, Fnarf, you know how I've always been present-indicative-tense-phobic, right?

Sorry, fixed, thanks.

Dear buthurt people glitterbombing Dan,

If you think Dan is your enemy, you're doing it wrong.

we give it a ten.....
Dan, you're still doing the MTV thing, right? Presumably that means you have a TV crew recording your talks, so am I right in assuming there is video evidence of what actually went down? I don't really doubt your version of events, but I wonder how in a room full of college students and a TV crew, no video could exist? Are you not releasing it to not give them attention, or because MTV wants the footage for themselves?

Frankly I'm very skeptical that this is some group of zealots who actually consider Dan (!!) an enemy of transexuals. This sounds more like pure trolling by the emotionally immature. Just as many "ancarchists" have no fucking clue about actual anarchist philosophy (hint: it does not involve burning down a footlocker) its possible that these are mere hooligans dressed up as LGBT activists because that was the handy label.

that's a pretty fucking long tedious explanation for someone who is not troubled.

our little Danny is nothing if not prickly......
@15 Dan's not ignoring the complaint but indicating that he's already changed his terminology. The glitter-bombers are confused about how quotations work, thought police or attention whores.

And I wouldn't call them thought police if they merely want people to use more respectful terms. They're thought police if they want to scrub those terms from all language, even if that language is being used to explain why the terms are offensive in the first place, as Dan was doing here.
I like all that you said on this Dan, but one thing. When you say collumnists don't write their own headlines, I blanch a little. I'm sure it is true, but it certainly doesn't have to be true. Is this such a deeply entrenched behavior of the machine that, even though it might degrade your own column, you have no control? Find a pair and fix the problem - which I say with admiration and humility and complete ignorance of the obstacles.
As I was reading the first quote, before I even got to your response, I thought, "This *really* doesn't sound like something Dan would say." I wonder what people are hoping to achieve by claiming enemies where there are none? It's not like they don't have enough actual ones to worry about...

So, is glitter as hard to get rid of as everyone says?

that must be it-

these are college republican pranksters trying to sow discord among the peaceful perverted people......
"This is something that I love, listen I'm about to teach
Every single girl should embrace their inner freaky freak.
Don't be scared, don't be shy, yes you gotta let it be.
I can give instructions if ya like to, like to hear me speak.
Let me see those hand cuffs off
Let me see that leather gear
Kiss him, slap him, pull his hair
Make him yo bitch in here
He wanna see you get down low
He wanna hear you, hear you go
I can be a freak, every day of every week"

While I generally like and respect Savage, there is something so hypocritical of his attitudes toward trans people when he himself is part of a community that would have commonly gotten the same reaction twenty years ago (and still does in many places).

Acceptance of difference starts with admitting that other people's lifestyles really don't affect yours, and swallowing your disgust. The parents of straights who say, "He's gay? Whatevs," were saying, "Ick, but it really doesn't affect me."

I don't expect someone who is happy with their gender to understand how someone feels when they aren't in the right body. But no one is going to come at Savage and demand he transition. He has the right to feel disgusted by the process of transitioning, but if he's an evolved person, he swallows that and treats everyone with respect and compassion.
He's dissed bears as well. A self-described twink wrote to his column saying he's into bears, but he gets ingored by them and asked what he should do. He gave a general, try to make friends with some of them, yadda, yadda, yadda and then ended it with commenting how he doesn't understand why he'd wanna be with fat, smelly guys.

He's a douche.
Dan wasn't being asked for Dan's personal tastes. If the writer above is correct, Dan was being asked about how the other guy should handle his desire for bears when bears do not seem to want him. I am starting to think, as I said before, part of the problem is that there is an audience for his shtick. Dan is entitled to his desires. He's entitled to dump on other people for theirs because its not necessary for him to have said that in this context. It was just gratuitous.
UPDATE: Savage just texted me to clarify that the words being objected to were actually used in a question he read from an audience member. In his response to the question, Savage noted that some folks "have trouble" with the terms. He laughed off the incident, adding that he finds the accusations against him and the act of glitter-bombing to be "ridiculous."
@ Lumpmoose,

Perhaps my reading comprehension stinks, but I got the impression that a good number of those on the Bilerico post think that they are being ignored. The last time I read it there was no acknowledgment by the author that Dan addressed the issue and there was atleast one call for stronger (but not violent) action to get his attention. That was what I was specifically addressing, their thinking that they are being ignored.
How many times is this excuse going to be used?

At the end of the day if you offend people, don't come whining that its ""ridiculous."

By the way, I see this kind of mind set a lot with PARTS (I cap that so I don't hear how I am discussing all) of the gay community a lot. They feel is their right to be as rude as they want to be to anyone else, and not be criticized for it.
The thing for me is I do agree with a lot of Savage's advice. That's why it's off-puttingly incongruous to me when a needlessly stereotypical insult is thrown in with the reasonable common sense. Gratuitous cruelty is the opposite of reason and undermines trust.
Eh, I think expecting that from a columnist of Dan's stature given his reputation is asking a bit much. I mean, I 'trust' Dan to give somewhat relative information thats honest and reasonable.

But I don't trust him not to dig into his readers if they present the chance, either out of their own ignorance or for a point to make a column enjoyable.

Its his bread and butter and how he and his family lives. I don't think he has a single degree in Psychology, sociology, or sexual health if I'm not mistaken.
Therein lies a problem, you trust Savage to be truthful and tell correct information but he does not do that.

He has had people tell him when he's dead wrong about certain sex acts, fetishes, BDSM, and kink, bisexuality and bisexual issues, and Trans/intersex issues-yet he refuses to admit that he's wrong or correct himself and actually publish the correct information.

There is no excuse for when Savage went on his racist bitch fit about African American voters in the state of CA how he thought that black voters in CA are the sole reason that prop 8 passed.
well said! there is way too much hate and discrimination within the gay comm..er i mean between the gay groups, sterotypes , and subcultures .. there is no community.

How can we expect the world to accept us and give us equal rights , when we can't even get along.
@31 This blog post is the first time he's directly addressed the glitter bombings, as far as I know. So from that standpoint, they were being ignored up until now.
@16, just don't get me started on the subjunctive mood (or mode; good god, what is WITH you people?). Compared to that, a little trans porn is nothing.
"But I have a hispanic friend.."

"But I have a gay friend...."

"But I have a trans friend..."

Different groups, same lazy defense. I don't care how many trans friends you have or what words they use. The word insulting to a lot of people and cis people shouldn't use it, period.

And trans people don't need you to tell us who our enemies are.
Yeah. Its a brilliant way to non violently protest someone.

I listen to Dans podcast and know he;s done a lot of good but I've also heard plenty of evidence that he's transphobic and almost none that he's changed his spots. I dunno if he deserves glitterbombing per se but its a valid form of protest. and a striking one.
@11, @12, a team of trolls now. My money is on 200 ANONYMOUS comments alone.
I think what bothers the trans people is that when he talks about trans people he doesn't go out of his way to make them feel more positive about themselves, and admonish his audience to be accepting. He should add some kind words to what he says when he discusses trans people because they are highly sensitive about his tone, and need to be thrown a bone. A little kindness can go a long way.
I think the real problem is that we're in an age where everyone in the sex-positive/lgbtq/etc. culture assumes they have a right not to be offended, and when they are, they chalk it up to oppression or patriarchy or transphobia. So many important debates about individual rights and identities get bogged down in petty language games, where everyone's in a competition to be the most oppressed person.
A great example of this is a tumblr I found recently where an anonymous reader asked the person a question along the lines of "Hey, I really enjoy your writing and opinions on sex issues. I was wondering, what's it like to be trans? What have you experienced personally with coming out and the trans culture?" The blogger replied that she could not begin to express how angry she was that the anonymous fan would assume being trans is associated with a collective experience, that the anon was an oppressor and the reason that she hated walking out of her apartment, and was the cause of her inner shame and depression.
I agree that privilege exists in all way, shapes, and forms, and is often invisible to the opressor. But just because someone uses a term that another individual doesn't like doesn't mean that we should cast all discussions in a black/white, transphobic/transpositive debate.
I went to the site indicated in the first line and I DO understand that people are angry, but it seems misdirected. There is enough to be angry about without Dan Savage, and there is a lot less to be angry about because of Dan Savage. Flaming this site doesn't change my mind about Savage either.
Go eat a bag of dicks! "Tranny" is just a shortening of "transsexual" or "transgender", just like "homo" is a shortening of "homosexual". Neither term is derogatory.
Dan Savage is rightly and deeply concerned about gay bullying.
I find it sad that he thinks Transgender concerns are a big joke.
Am I the only one to note that if people came armed with glitter, they would more than likely find a moment to glitter-bomb Dan???
Lighten up. As a younger guy who's into bears, I laughed out loud when Dan made the bear comments. I think it was intended to be edgy and funny, not intended to be insulting. All the bear friends I have loved it.

Making fun of what other people find attractive is one of the oldest gay pasttimes. My friends tease me for my taste in men, but who cares? Occasionally someone will be truly nasty and insulting about it, but that's extremely rare.
Considering that he is being called transphobic so frequently that he now says he is "used to it," it's hard to understand how he can continue to see himself as a spokesperson for the LGBT community rather than solely a gay spokesperson.
If this comment had been directed toward gay men you woud have screamed "bigotry" asshollery" et al. Since Dan Savage is gay he gets a pass. Too many seem to think he can do no wrong.

Dan Savage fits very well into the white affluent gay male subgroup and he connects with them.

He does not connect with those that fall outside of that narrow sexual, socioeconomic and racial spectrum.

Pointing out this fact is met with accusations of not "getting" Dan Savage.

We get his ignorance and contempt and are sick of it.
So, if Dan Savage thinks glitter-bombing is "ridiculous," and Joe Jervis thinks that it's "yawn"-worthy, then why do we cheer when it's used against MIchele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, etc.?

Am I missing something?
Dan, You are a good sport. Thank you for being great.
@Fnarf, yeah, this one could break the record.
Anyone who has ever read more than a couple Savage Loves understands your positions and snarky tone. However, when filming for an MTV show at a college, your positions and tone may not be so well understood, especially by highly opinionated college students, and perhaps some people wanted free publicity via MTV. Also, 48 is right, most people don't normally walk around armed with a bunch of glitter for no reason. I suspect this was premeditated glitterbombing in the first degree, whatever the reason.
Had to join the party!

Here's the thing. I understand anger about use of genuine hate speech. I *even* understand anger at someone not in a minority group misguidedly using an in-group term they haven't been invited to use (e.g. a white person attempting to use "nigger" as a term of jocular familiarity). I DON'T understand people becoming angry about terms that haven't even acquired the status of hate speech - i.e. 'tranny.' I don't think real homophobes and bigots even use that term. They do use "freak," but Dan's use of that is clearly affectionate (and in-groupy).
@48 Good point. These people came there, with their preconceived ideas about Dan readily in place, just ACHING to find anything that Dan said highly offensive.

It's really sad to see that a group of people is so ready to find offense in everything everyone says, that they would treat one of their greater allies as an enemy...

1) I'm not surprised, there's some real hair trigger ppl there

Perhaps the trans community should embraces words they find offensive as gay men have embraced cock sucker, faggot, queer.

Like Lenny Bruce said, "the word's suppression gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness". Take way the power of the word by co-opting it.
I am intentionally going to use "tranny" and "shemale" from now on.

Fucking imbecilic infantile retards...
@53, why would you think we cheer when idiots do it to Bachman and Gingrich? Its just as stupid.
@61 - as a member of the infantile/imbecilic community, I take offense at your comment [drool, cry].
That's actually a comment the troll pasted from the joemygod thread about the glitterbombing. Just ignore.
Not surprising they were attracted by the prospect of their footage making it into the reality program. Moths to the publicity flame. Silly kids.
I agree, I don't like how labels get tossed around, especially in the hyperbolic fashion which is all the rage these days. Instead of 'thought police,' these folks are more like 'purity whiners.'
Jesus, tried to read some comments on Bilerico but didn't get far before my head exploded. It's clear to them that Savage uses activism to promote his position as spokesgay of the LGBTs...because that makes perfect sense. Use the activism to GET the fame, not that all that hard work pays off or whatever...
Doesn't exactly break the stereotype of trannies being unhappy, over sensitive, humorless, victim-junkies.
If the Trans community thinks Dan Savage is the enemy, they need to get educated about who real 'civil rights' enemies are and how they act. Have some bloody context -- Dan is NOT your enemy.
I see this kind of misrepresentation and misdirected hate of Dan surprisingly often in the tumblr "social justice circle jerk" community (god I love the woman who coined that term) and it's gotten to the point where the blatant lies are so aggravating to me that I've had to blacklist his name so I don't see any posts about him, because I know whatever is being said is just a load of ignorant bullshit. I'm glad you addressed this, Dan! Too bad those circle jerkers have their heads too far up their own asses to do any research other than screaming "transphobe" any time someone utters "she-male," regardless of context. Now I'm off to play my DS and listen to the latest lovecast.
Right you are, Seandr. Maybe they just need to change their fucking tampon.
I wonder if one of the glitter-bombers put that question into the pile in the first place? Or maybe they put a bunch of leading questions in there, in hopes of Dan reading one of them? Seems like they were setting it all up, just waiting for their chance.

I so hope Dan just laughed, shook off the glitter, and finished unpacking what he was about to say. Can't wait to see this episode on MTV.
Sheesh, 71 and it's not even 10 am Pacific. Busy, busy trolls today!
I admit, rather shallowly, that when I read the first sentence:

So my gay ass—already pretty sparkly—got glitterbombed at the University of California at Irvine last Monday.

...I got lost in a few moments of imagining Dan's ass twinkling like a Twilight vampire.
Yep, I have to agree -- it's yet another case in which the letter of the law is taken for the spirit of the law, in which the word is branded as having 'intrinsically hateful' meaning (poor word, how could it be its fault?), and people forget that, in language and communication, there's nothing without context.

People who want to change society so often get trapped in the wrong wars. Changing words instead of hearts and minds -- that's one of Satan's most efficient traps to get people to do bad things even when they have good, nay the best, intentions.
@Dan, it's quite clear to me you're not transphobic. You've said it many times, you've given really good advice to trans people in your column, you've made it clear that you're more interested in the person and his/her happiness than in the choices made.

This was just an attempt to attack your credentials as 'someone with something to say' to our society about sexual minorities. An attempt at branding you as some kind of bigot. I do wonder if the question was indeed placed in the pile on purpose, so as to provoke the incident. (In which case this should be evidence that you are becoming a famous sexual-minority-rights advocate, Dan. You're pissing off the dogmatic, and now they can't just brush you aside.)
all 76 people above should kill themselves for being fucking morons and posting in these comments.

does anyone give this much of a shit about dan savage, featured MTV writer?
Heh. Glitterbombing homophobes turns them into raging lunatics because you've just emasculated them, and that's what they hate so much about homos.

Glitterbombing *homos* on the other hand... that's kind of like tossing catnip at a cat, isn't it?
@10, you thought wrong. Read more.
@79: Yes, actually I like Dan because he writes a good column and he fights the good fight.

Now, what *I* would like to know, is why you care so much to rage blindly like that - even sign up for a Stranger.com account! That's quite a lot of motivation you've got there for someone who "doesn't care".
he has no entitlement to the word "freak," especially since this is language that is often used to demonize, eroticize, and exoticize trans bodies and people. Just last year at CSULB, a transman was cornered, beaten, and got the word "IT" carved in to his chest with a knife, being called a freak and a tranny. The term "freak" can easily be claimed by folk who have privilege, people who don't have to worry about violence towards their "freakiness" because they can put it away, hide it in the private. I appreciate the transcript and the response, but at the same time, you need to be careful about which words you claim (especially if they are words which you aren't a victim of their violence).

It's a huge deal. Words are powerful. Words with negative connotations get mapped on to those bodies. Sure, we're reclaiming words like queer, dyke, fag--to an extent--but we claim them because we are trying to heal from the violence that those words have had on our communities. To reclaim "freak," "shemale" "transexual" "tranny" and the like when it's NOT YOUR WORD or you were never the target of the violence of the word is to be extremely insensitive, if not ignorant to the history of violence associated with that word. I appreciate the transcript--I was there in the audience--but what I don't appreciate it is the demonizing of trans folk and the activists. Trans people in that room WERE UNCOMFORTABLE. Unless you want to tell me that they don't know what transphobia is, and that you know what it's like better than trans people do..... the trans people in the audience got the perception and the feeling of transphobia. Maybe it didn't come DIRECTLY FROM DAN SAVAGE. But the space itself was transphobic, and Dan cracking jokes at the expense of others in the room (the girl who wrote the question, trans folk) didn't help to create a space where trans people felt like they had allies. And that should concern all of us.
@68, who wrote:
Jesus, tried to read some comments on Bilerico but didn't get far before my head exploded. It's clear to them that Savage uses activism to promote his position as spokesgay of the LGBTs...because that makes perfect sense. Use the activism to GET the fame, not that all that hard work pays off or whatever...

Indeed. It's all about getting angry at the enemy (we've already had that great awareness session in which we decided who the enemy is and isn't, and that can never be changed, right...), and not about thinking anymore. Revenge. Revenge, sweet revenge!...

It seems that the transgender acceptance movement will go through this phase other such social movements went through -- anger, "you're-all-bigots-if-you-don't-accept-my-dogma..." Anti-racism did, feminism did, gay activism did (still does in some places, I hear -- here's GLAAD to provide an example).

Maybe there's a phase in which people just want to express how ANGRY they are at something (anti-transgender prejudice) and don't much care about how they express this anger, what they aim it at, and what the consequences are. If you throw enough glitter bomb arounds, some will hit the right targets, right?

@84, sorry, Dan can't use the word "Freak" now? Because homos were never regarded as freaks? Are you insane?
@kamheron, I disagree entirely with you, in fact so fundamentally, all I can say is your efforts are going to backfire.

Words don't exist outside of context. There is no such thing as an intrisincally hateful word, only usage makes it so. The word "banana" could morph into a hate word, just like the word "gay" did for a while.

I'm sure trans people in that room WERE INCOMFORTABLE. But was there some reason for them to be incomfortable about -- or were they incomfortable like a mother who thought she had caught her son snorting cocaine, when in fact he was just making soap bubles with his nose?

People can BE INCOMFORTABLE because of what they IMAGINE is going on. It doens't follow that it is really going on. Yes, you can BE INCOMFORTABLE for the wrong reasons, or because you misunderstood someone or something. That's very frequent actually.
@79: Grow the fuck up.
@85 exactly! I mean, I think I get it - I used to feel like this about a lot of things (words, especially) when I was figuring out that I was a freak in my adolescence and felt really persecuted about it. I wanted to be angry about it, in a weird way.
I suppose more than anything I needed to express to someone who would understand me what I wanted to say to those commenters, so thanks.
@kamheron, ALL WORDS ARE MY WORDS, because I speak this friggin' language and words are part of it, not part of external reality. You can't change this fact; you'd have to reach into my head and change the language there in order to do that, and this is (as of yet) impossible.

All words are everybody's, to do with as they please. Even trademarking words ultimately doesn't work: even if you invented it, if it is really good it ends up entering the language and belonging to everybody.

All words are everybody's.
@84 What we have here is a failure to communicate. It's as if the sex-positive community and the trans community are speaking two different languages that use the same word sounds for different meanings.

In sex-positive speak, "freak" means very sex-positive, and is most often a term of either admiration, or warm humor. It is unrelated to the same word used in a transphobic context. Those who can't see the difference have some issues they need to deal with. Now.
All my friends are freaks.
let's do an example. nigger.

everyone will be up in arms over it. because you recognize how violent the word is. It's not "It's my word so I'm going to use it how I please." That's idealist. and insane. You wouldn't say this to someone who is targeted by the violence of colonialism and slavery because you realize it's messed up.

yes, queer folk were targeted by the word "freak." Are they still now? To a certain extent, yes. Are trans people still constantly hailed by the word? Yes. Ever looked at trans porn? I suggest you do before you start to get the idea in your head that being a "freak" is a positive thing.
Jesus H. Christ. "Controversies" like this make me SO glad I'm on the East Coast.
@89, so am I. I'm into D/s and other kinky stuff, I even have a little bit of a scat fetish (something even Dan often expresses distaste for; some of his older columns on the topic... :-!...)

Yes, there was a time in which I thought I just wanted to shout and scream against those who thought I was a freak (even though they didn't know my kinks, there were plenty of other more conventional reasons for doing that).

Then I realized that screaming angriy at people I don't like is exactly what my enemies were doing to me -- is exactly what bigots do with gays, lebians, transgendered people, and other queerfolk in general.

If they were wrong to tell us "what's right and what's wrong" in sexual orientation, why is Mr kamheron above any more wrong in telling us what words are mine and what words aren't? Looks like the same thing to me.

The sad thing is that transgedered people indeed do suffer a lot -- maybe it's because they suffer a lot that some of them lash out like Mr kamheron above against people for simply using certain words, paying no attention to the idea behind it. Their heart is in the right place -- they want to care for those who were hurt. Their methods, though, are despicable, and doomed to failure. Telling others you know their intentions better than they do themselves is always doomed to failure.

Dan had a conversation with a trans man.


Dan got close enough to a real live trans man to have a conversation!

and they say there are no more Saints.....

we hear Pat Boone once had a conversation with a real live homosexual.....
I'm not interested in a semantics battle, perse. But ya'll have some serious internalized transphobia to work through. I know that Dan is working through them, a close friend of mine had a lengthy conversation with him about trans politics after the show. Ya'll should do the same, or you should just be honest and drop the T from the LGB(T) acronym.
Sorry, but the glitter bomb in Eugene was by a trans person. Dan, I'm not sure why you thought it wasn't.
I have been reading Dan's column since the "Hey Faggot" days and just have never seen him be transphobic. I've been around transfolks most my out gay life and for much of that that time they used the word tranny all the time. I remember many columns that Dan gave sound, smart advise to Transpeople. But you can't please everyone all the time. It's like when QueerNation started and many Gays had a problem with the word queer. My guess that in 5 years the Trans Community will embrace the word tranny just like most gays have embraced the word queer. Oh and to PapaBear-Fuck off! You still obviously still have an issue with being fat, hairy & stinky. And I am a bear.
and btw dan, 2 of the 3 people at UCI were trans. I cannot name names or out them because of legal trouble (which I hope you don't press, especially if you look at the history of police at UCI, look at Irvine 19 and the Irvine 11).
@93 (mr kamheron), of course nigger is my word. In more ways than you can think.

It so happens I'm Brazilian. The English word "nigger" -- via "Negro" -- comes from Portuguese "negro", which is a beautiful word to describe the black color. Just as English-language poets might talk about "dark as the night", or talk about how mesmerizing someone's "dark eyes" are, Portuguese poets talk about "olhos negros" and how deeply beautiful they are. (Do you know the Russian song "ochi chornye", a beautiful song I love to listen to? Its tranlsation into English is Dark Eyes, but in Portuguese it is -- you guessed it -- "olhos negros", nigger eyes.

So yes, this is my word, in more ways perhaps than it is yours, since my mother tongue is the language that gave birth to it. And yes, I could use it to someone who was targeted by slavery and colonialism -- only I'd try to make sure it is used in a way that doesn't hurt. (Given the history of this word, that is difficult, but by no means impossible.)

Remember the South Park episode in which Ron Marsh was branded as a "nigger guy" because he used the word "nigger" in public once? (If you don't, it's here.) Watch that episode again, and try to tell me that the word "nigger" is being used there to hurt the modern-day descendants of slaves. It isn't.

Of course many people were made to suffer via this word. And here's the problem: you confuse the action -- making them suffer -- with the word. As if words couldn't be used to do all kinds of things, good and bad. As if words had only one use, one intrinsic "hatefulness" about them.

With respect to "freak", read what @91 (BrooklynReader) wrote above, and think about it for a while. Think about language and words, and how they change through time, and what makes that happen.

It's a complicated world, and trying to oversimplify things by claiming "freak" or "nigger" or "faggot" are only 'bad' words that nobody should use reeks of Victorian puritanism plus old-style grammatical/lexical prescriptivism: there is only one "right" language, and if you don't use it you're "baaad".

No, there isn't. The world just ain't that simple.
"So raise your glass if you are wrong,
In all the right ways,
All my underdogs,
We will never be never be anything but loud
And nitty gritty dirty little freaks
Won't you come on and come on and raise your glass,
Just come on and come on and raise your glass"