Christopher Jones's picture

Gabourey Sidibe Issues Apology For Repeated Use Of Word 'Tranny' On 'Arsenio Hall Show' After Coming Under Fire

Actress Gabourey Sidibe, best known for her roles in "Precious" and "American Horry Story: Coven," issued an apology via twitter after coming under fire for her repeated use of the word "tranny" and subsequently making light of trans issues while appearing on "The Aresenio Hall Show."

 

 

The scrutiny began due to her response when asked about her stay in New Orleans while filming "Coven" where she used the word "tranny" no less than 5 times in under a minute:

Gabourey Sidibe: There was a bar that we would frequent and every time we'd go, when we were leaving every single time there was always like a gang of cops arresting trannies.

Audience: [Laughter]

Sidibe: Specifically trannies.

Arsenio Hall: Yeah…

Sidibe: And I don't know what goes on with trannies but that tranny on tranny crime needs to stop!

Arsenio Hall and audience: [Laughter]

Sidibe [chuckling]: It is tearing our nation apart!

Though Sidibe has been very supportive of LGBT rights during her rise in fame and is candid when speaking of her gay friends, figureheads in top LGBT advocacy organizations were none too pleased and weighed in.

In a statement to Huffington Post, Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said the following:

Using the word 'tranny' isn't OK anymore. Using it to make fun of people is definitely not OK. And using it to make fun of any kind of violence is just plain wrong. I know she meant it in fun but that's the problem in this case. It's not just that she used the word 'tranny' but that she's making fun of violence in a city where the police have a history of committing violence and discrimination against trans women of color. It's the kind of thing that trans people listen to and say, 'This is someone who is not thinking about our lives. This is someone who is making fun of our problems.' Gabby is someone who has approached lots of different social issues with grace and class and so this is just such a disappointment.

And Jean-Marie Navetta, Director of Equality & Diversity Partnerships at PFLAG National, sent a long statement to The Huffington Post as well, writing in part:

I don't know [Sidibe]. I will always give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they weren't thinking and just need some education. We all deserve that chance. We all need the right to redeem ourselves. And I believe this for her, in spite of the fact that it felt very mean-spirited and horrible to me, especially since she has been the point of much ridicule for her differences. It has often been those who are also different -- like trans people -- who have defended her. I hope this is a learning experience.

But what do we say about the larger picture? Here's what we know: People who are trans are 41% more likely than the population as a whole to attempt suicide. Violence against trans people is widespread, representing a significant number hate crimes each year. The treatment of people who are trans in the judicial and prison system is deplorable...

Whether the word tranny is offensive or not has been an ongoing debate for quite some time now and Sidibe isn't the first to go under attack for its use and subsequently apologize. Furthermore, it's no secret that many in our community still use the word and don't think it's that serious, most notably, RuPaul—the most famous drag queen in the world—who's expressed love for the word.

So, we ask you, Instincters: Was the attack on Sidibe justified or a gross overreaction? Watch the video clip from her appearance on "The Arsenio Hall Show" below and tell us what you think:

_________________________________

 

Image Source. (h/t: huffingtonpost.com)

Comments

Total over reaction!! Are you kidding people? You have nothing better to do in today's world? Go out and fight a real fight, feed some hungry kids or make a dying person smile for a minute.

Since when did "tranny" become a bad word? I thought it was transy that was offensive and tranny was the preferred term. There are people in this world in the process or who have had reassignment procedures--how do you phrase that in a pc way? I'd like to know.

Trans is the correct word you're looking for here. Trans woman/trans man or transgender or transperson or transfolk or transexual but ANYTHING but tranny!

Any term that has been used to negatively potray or to make others lless then isn't ok. Much like the N term, as a person of colour I hate and have hated that term because of how it made me feel and how it was used against me to do just that. Women from the greater trans communities had that term used against them, and still do. Fine if one wishes to reclaim it and self use it, we see enough rappers use the N term( I don't like it but they have the right to reclaim and use it) We see some gay men use the F term for themselves and usually with each other. Interestingly enough the R term used to describe Native peoples of North America isn't one they want to reclaim, yet is ignored and openly used still today.                                                                                          I use for myself the term queer, but don't tell others they are.

I love some of the responses that started like this. "As a gay man...." If you said anything but I'm sorry I had no idea anything else is just justifing your own ignorance for when you yourself use the term.

Or the , " I have a Friend or friends that are women from the trans communities so ". Doesn't matter. it might not be an issue for them, or they might just do what some people do when someone insults them and they don't feel string enough to say something, they internalize it.

And the one I have read a few time. " I never knew it was, you people are too sensitive, or you're being too P.C. etc" That you never knew doesn't mean it isn't the case it might just mean that people you hung out with were intelligent and so never used it. Just because early humans didn't see air or thought this was the only planet, didn't't mean they were right, just meant they were un informed and ignorant.

It's really simple, if a group has been negatively affected by the use of a term, then others shouldn't be using them. If people in that group want to reclaim and use it, they can, but still others can't. I don't get why this is even a discussion as it's really a simple thing. to consider.

I get your point, but, you cannot tell people what they can and cannot say. This is a free country, and though it isn't right, people have the freedom to call others any name they want. People have the right to or not to take offense to it. Again, I know words can hurt or heal, and I choose mine carefully. However, others don't, but it's not up to us to censor them. They got to learn verbal control for themselves. And, they may come across someone who will teach them just that.

This just bs.....with everything going on in the world they want to condemn this girl. No apology needed. I support the lgbtq initiative......i am a "tranny" and nothing offensive. And to this Director of the equality group i understand where you are coming from, but if you are teaching the youth to be on guard with everything That is said in reference to being gay, then you are creating a fear factor. I have been a TS for over 12 years and i find more hate and disparging terms being used in our community than in the straight world, so work on the internal first. Gabby keep up doing what you do. I support you!

I am a gay man and always think of myself as sensitive to LGBT issues....and did not realize tranny was offensive......i still dont think it is.....this is overreation and just trying to create a story that is not there. As for RuPaul, the girl is fabulous and does no wrong! lol

RuPaul takes his wig off when he goes home to his boyfriend, who kisses him and calls him Charles.   He is a wonderful entertainer, very funny, but he ain't working on his gender identity.  

If "tranny" only applied to Drag Queens, I'd personally would be okay with it.  Is that what you mean?

This is definitely not a slur and actually is a bunch of BS here in Wilton Manors FL there was even a bar called the "Tranny Shack". This is someone being really over active and sensitive. Give it a rest as Gabby does not have a homophobic or transgenderphobic bone in her body. Enough is enough!!!

Really, over-reaction. I thought it was funny - and, really, WTF?! Where's the outrage over that Taylor Swift video, where she was getting punched by a male video game character? 

As a gay man, I did stop and pause for a moment, and put "gays" in place of tranny in here story. Nope, wouldn't be offensive. So a person gets brow-beat because they don't know the history of the police, crime and corruption in a city they're visiting for work?

OMG, people!!! Total overreaction!!! She was making a joke and it didn't even sound mean spirited to me whatsoever!!! Have heard far worse.

Another fat person with a bad attitude in a country full of fat people with bad attitudes..

Wow, you are an asshole. 

+1

People are overreacting. 

Seriously? People are way too sensitive. It's not a "slur". Who wants to live in a world where we are being taught to cry and complain every time someone says something that we don't like? Develop some character and learn to rise above things you don't like. Simple. 

I totally agree. I didn't even know that tranny was a slur or a bad word to say. People are WAY too sensitive nowadays. Grow some and move on.

Add new comment