April 17, 2014

RuPaul and the Evolution of Language

While Logo TV has released statements in the wake of the Transgendered Community's backlash regarding Drag Race's use of the slur "Shemale." The show's drag clad host, is anything but pleased. Shortly after members of the trans community took to the internet to express disapproval in the show's use of terminology, Logo released the following statement:

We wanted to thank the community for sharing their concerns around a recent segment and the use of the term 'she-mail' on Drag Race.
Logo has pulled the episode from all of our platforms and that challenge will not appear again.
Furthermore, we are removing the 'You've got she-mail' intro from new episodes of the series.
We did not intend to cause any offense, but in retrospect we realize that it was insensitive. We sincerely apologize.


RuPaul, of RuPaul's Drag Race has taken to twitter, however, to vent frustrations:

In a tweet, RuPaul references Orwell's Animal Farm:

Orwell's book ANIMAL FARM: The pigs were never really interested in revolution, they secretly just wanted Farmer John's lifestyle.

For those of you that missed the shade,
you can catch up on what exactly Animal Farm is by watching the video below:



Now, I understand what RuPaul is saying. At the same time, I understand the grievances of these members of the trans community that have recently become vocal regarding the use of the word "Shemale." On one side, you have supporters of RuPaul saying that "the term has been in use for over five years. Why bitch and complain about it now?" On the other side, we have members of a certain community expressing that they are offended, and while people [including people within the trans and LGB communities] would dismiss this sect of the trans community as being "too sensitive" I would like to now draw your attention to this video:



How many times did Eddie Murphy use the word "faggot"? In that clip? By my count: three, and this was only a clip of one of his stand up routines from over 20 years ago. I wonder how much backlash Murphy received, at that time, for using such language. I wonder if he'd so confidently let the word fall from his mouth today. So you see, while the struggle with words that the trans community is now facing may not be anything particularly new, we do owe it to the people who put the T in "LGBT" our full consideration and undivided attention when it comes to the business of what not to say and how to address them. Just because people were calling homosexual males "faggots" during the 70s, 80s, 90s [and even as late as the early 2000s; see Kings of Comedy] without a second thought doesn't mean someone somewhere wasn't feeling a certain way about such language, and as we can all see, said language is not commonplace today for a reason.

The trans community has a reason for this outcry and we owe it to them to not just dismiss them as being overly sensitive or attention seeking. Even if the loudest voices on twitter, tumblr, and other social media are making a fuss in order to get attention, there are so many more people out there that are suffering for real reasons that include, but are not limited to, this sort of language.

Post a Comment