The first time I was ever directly called tranny, it was by a man angrily kicking at the door of a public women’s bathroom. I’d gone in to pee while out shopping, and a woman had taken it upon herself to leave the bathroom, grab her partner, drag him into the womens room and point out which bathroom stall I was currently peeing in. As I sat there, I watched the door violently shake. When I eventually left, a small crowd had formed around my stall.

I got pushed around considerably before being able to make a run for it.

The second time I remember being called tranny, it was by a man blocking a doorway so I could not leave a store. I’d gone into a Londis for some basics on my way home, and the man refused to let me leave the store. I had to ask the staff to get the man to move.

He proceeded to follow me toward my home shouting at me. Most of his shouts were to the effect of “I just want you to explain to me why you think it’s okay to pretend you’re a woman, when you’re really some perverted piece of tranny shit. If you’re not a tranny show me your fucking cunt already”.

I had to call the police before he would back off.

The third time I got called a tranny, I was being sexually harassed on a coach home from London. I was sat alone, right at the back, and within a few minutes of our journey starting a man was trying to convince me to snort a mysterious power he had in a vial. I refused.

As the journey escalated, the man escalated in his actions. Initially initiating physical contact against my consent, he started trying to push me into a bathroom to “find out if trannies scream like real women”.

I sprayed him in the face with criminal identifier gel spray, ran for the driver and got him to pull over and call the police. The man locked himself in the bathroom until the police arrived.

While the word tranny may “just be a contraction of the word transgender” to you, to me it’s a word I only ever come across when people who think me less valid of a person for my trans status want me to be afraid of them.

Tranny is a word I only come across in my life when being attacked, harassed, dehumanised or threatened.

It may just be a word, but it’s a word that for many, many trans people symbolises everything dangerous and to be feared about going through transition.

Some trans men and women may be fine with the term. Some may decide they want to reclaim it. That does not mean you get to decide for me what associations it holds. You don’t get to tell me I’m having the wrong reaction to its use.

I’ve lived a life where the term tranny is only used in situations where people want to show their power and control over me and my life.

Please, be bloody careful about using that word to refer to myself, or any other transgender person. Be wary of what it means for many like myself.

Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. You are entirely correct. I don’t honestly know what I can add to this very important point, except that reading through this almost made me break down, as vivid memories of my own terrifying experiences with people using that word flashed through my mind.

    I completely agree, that how you address someone is just as important as any other aspect of how you treat them. For instance, you wouldn’t want to rub salt into another person’s wound after they had let you know it was there, right? Well, emotional and mental scars are aggravated just as intensely by salt-spoiled terms.

    Hopefully this understanding becomes a part of common courtesy in the future, as it’s absolutely crucial to the very nature of being respectful towards anyone.

  2. Whoa, Laura, that sounds awful, being followed home like that. 😦

    I’ve dealt with my fair share of transphobia directed at me, like being spat at/on, verbal abuse, but never anything where I was in actual danger of being seriously physically injured. You have my sympathies.

  3. Laura, thank you for sharing these stories.

  4. Idk, I comfortable with trans dudes using it tbh. its always been steeped more in transmisogyny rather than in transphobia. From these examples as well as my personal experiences with Twerfs it leans way more on the denial of our womenhood by radfems or exploration and exploitation of it by rapey straight men.

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