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:

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

What do you think?