Tuesday, August 21, 2018

All Shiny and Chrome

Yesterday, I found out that Hopalong Ginsberg was put into Facebook jail for saying the word "tranny" in an automotive group. In other words, he was using a slang term for the transmission -- a term which has been around since at least the 1950s and far outdates the word being used to describe transvestite, transsexual or transgender people -- and his account was suspended.

This is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. I'm not a fan of censorship in general, but zero-tolerance censorship without even taking context into account (and probably without human judgement) is absolutely abhorrent.

And so, as I am wont to do, I got a bee in my bonnet and post this on my public figure page. 24 hours later and it's still there, but I'm going to include a screenshot of it just in case:

I've written in the past about my views on the word: 
I acknowledge that some transgender people dislike the word "tranny", and so I won't use it to describe them and I encourage everyone else to be gentle with its usage. But personally, I find the entire thing funny -- after all, doesn't a transmission "switch gears" and doesn't a transgender person essentially do the same thing in the eyes of society? -- and by using and laughing about a word which is allegedly offensive, I reclaim it and remove its harmful power (c.f. the Pink Pistols and their reclamation of the pink triangle).
I acknowledge that the word makes some people uncomfortable but that doesn't make the word inherently bad, and banning people for using it when talking about automobiles or electronics (where tranny is used as slang for a transformer) is beyond stupid. 

As far as I'm concerned, tranny is just a natural shortening of any multi-syllabic word that starts with "trans", and being offended at it being used to describe transgender people is as ridiculous as people offended by "homo sapiens" because it has the word "homo" in it and that's a slang term for "gay". 

So I'm taking a stand on Facebook. Maybe it'll change some minds. And if I get banned, then witness me, all shiny and chrome. 

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