Susan Sarandon Says GLAAD ‘Out of Control’ for ‘Tranny’ Criticism

Rocky

Rocky Horror star Susan Sarandon tells the New York Daily News she feels GLAAD went overboard in criticizing Glee's use of the term "tranny" in its Rocky Horror tribute episode:

"When we caught up with Sarandon, she said the controversy puzzled her. 'What should they have said?' she asked, adding that she knew plenty of people who proudly called themselves 'trannies.' GLAAD, she said, was 'getting like PETA – way out of control.' (Not that Sarandon is invested in 'Glee' and its dramas. 'Now that my kids are gone,' she said, 'I don't watch TV at all.') GLAAD spokesman Richard Ferraro responded by reiterating his organization's objections. 'The word 'tra—y' has become an easy punch line in popular culture,' he wrote in an email, 'and many still don't realize that using the term is hurtful, dehumanizing and associated with violence.'"

Comments

  1. Stephen says

    I have to agree with Susan. GLAAD is slowly becoming extremist like PETA. They need to take it back a step and realize that honestly every word can be used in a derogatory sense. Its all in the usage of the word. I’m of the mentality that we should take words like “Faggots” “Fag” and turn them into words of power much like we did with the word “Queer” and the way that black people use the N-Word (I refuse to use it) amongst themselves all the time. Its all in the context. If you don’t use a word derogatorially then what is the point of fighting it?

    Plus what is the problem with the word Tranny? It is slang for transmission as well just as GAY only recently came to mean homosexual. It originally started off meaning “Happy” and the word Queer started off meaning “Weird”. So words evolve. Slang evolves. What would they have you use instead of Tranny? Its in popular culture now so just deal with it. People beating gays and lesbians down and calling them faggots like that is what they should be fighting. Not fighting one of the most gay inclusive shows on network television (AND ON FOX NO LESS) for using the word tranny.

  2. m says

    First of all – GLAAD really can’t type out the whole word “Tra_ _ y”!! That made my day.

    Dammit. Janet is right on this one. I love the word Tranny and GLAAD should not look at Glee like it is our enemy.

  3. Paul R says

    Agreed with the preceding two comments. Tranny is an abbreviation for a longer, unwieldy term—one used by most of the trannies I know.

    It’s not some new, hateful word cooked up to incite hatred and violence.

  4. Tim says

    Since when did tranny become derogatory?! I’ve never ever thought of it that way or seen it used that way. And we really must stop equating our words with the N word. Not all black people use it amongst themselves and I’d bet it’s a very small minority that do. We can still make our argument without referring to another situation.

  5. Zlick says

    Associated with violence? Really? Must have missed that. But whatever, it’s an abbreviation of a longer word, a very common thing to do in the English language. We don’t seem to like anything longer than two syllables. Oh and homo is an abbreviation of homosexual, so I hope we faggots don’t go getting all upset over that one either. Sheesh, GLAAD, get a grip.

  6. Rick in MA says

    Susan is right. I’m a 50 something gay, and we’ve got to lighten up. Then we can’t say ‘flammer’. ‘mo’…..

    Tranny isn’t used in hate. From the trans men I’ve met over the years, it’s their language as well. Oh lighten up HRC…maybe you should spend more time lobbying Congress to repeal DOMA and DADT?

  7. Chris says

    It’s not an abbreviation, but a diminutive.

    I actually think that GLAAD doesn’t need to get a grip since several trans people are quite happy about GLAAD’s reaction. And they should be the ones to ask.

  8. Tristin says

    I agree with Susan here, Glaad over reacts to everything these days it seems. Glee is the gayest show in TV history, and they still feel the need to pick at them. Give me a break.

  9. Kevin Moriarty says

    What? GLAAD has a problem with GLEE??? Oh, man, somebody needs to pull the plug on their funding, because they are SO off base, criticizing the show that’s finally made being gay a potentially cool thing for teens. And mainstream acceptable. And now they want to call them on the carpet because of what actually is an historic reference from a 35-year-old movie? Give to the Trevor Project or something, because GLAAD just continues to pontificate from a ridiculous perspective. Harumph. I’ll write a letter to Whatsit Ferraro and tell him the same thing. Silly prig.

  10. alguien says

    a few years ago i got flamed for using the word tranny so i took it up with my roommate at the time who is a transgendered woman (m to f, just to be clear). she didn’t have a problem with the word but i’ve tried to avoid its usage ever since because, apparently, there are people who are sensitive about it.

  11. TANK says

    GLEE is unwatchable badness, and anyone who disagrees best take a long hot shower and douche, because yo pussy rank! It’s awful, and I don’t see the big fucking deal. Maybe some stereotypes about gay men are accurate, huh?

    As to tranny, I use it all of the time…I’m unconcerned with how people react to the language I use unless they have guns and are black.

  12. jamesintoronto says

    GLAAD needs to keep their eye on the prize. Glee is not the enemy. It’s creator and executive producer is gay. Chris Colfer plays a very positive and multi-faceted gay character. And it is the gayest show on television. Again I ask, where was GLAAD last summer when the summer’s biggest blockbuster, The Hangover, got away with the line “paging Dr. Faggot”? Now that I find offensive.

  13. hephaestion says

    Why is Towleroad even nit-picking a comment by Susan Sarandon? Sarandon is a strong friend of our community and her support can not be doubted. This nit-picking is a silly waste of time. We need to be worrying about the real words of hate coming out of the mouths of the Republicans who are now taking over our Congress. Susan Sarandon will always take a stand for justice and equality for us all; these asshole wacko Republicans will NOT, and they will screw us in every way they can for the next 2 years.

  14. Randy says

    I don’t think this is an area where one can “lighten up.” GLAAD is just flat out wrong. They’re not uptight, as much as wrong.

    If they had a transgendered character and called them a tranny, then perhaps an uproar would be appropriate. Calling a drag queen a tranny is not a derogatory statement. Trannyshack, for instance, was an awesome drag show in San Francisco for years.

    Being wrong and then getting in an uproar about it is silly. Good luck to them.

  15. Bobby says

    Yeah, I didn’t see the offense in that either. To me Tranny is like being called Gay. You either are or you’re not.

    AND, the way the character used the word was not in a derogatory fashion.

    He said his parents didn’t want him dressing like a tranny, of which Frank N. Furter calls himself.

  16. Todd Merrell says

    Here’s the thing, at least as I see it. Those of us of a certain generation have used the word, with the full compliance of our trans sisters and brothers. It was irreverent and got people noticed. Now, there has occurred over the last few years where the term seems to have become more derogatory, and I saw this during the ENDA fight. My problem is that I think it’s a great word. It’s short, succinct, fun. And before anyone comes down on me, I have a trans cousin. But, we do, I think, and this is for the trans community more than anything, need to make the word a positive. It’s a really great word. And doesn’t need to have any derogatory connotations.

  17. Randy says

    @Kyle, sorry, but that’s not true. Tranny doesn’t apply to transgendered individuals.

    It’d be kind of like a gay person getting upset by someone using the term “bi” and saying that it is derogatory and represents violence.

    Tranny is a shortened form of the term transexual and is common drag queen parlance. It’s common for people to misuse these terms and address them at a transgendered person, which is considered an insult, but to lump everyone who dresses up in woman’s clothing as transgendered is a bigger insult.

    I’m a big fan of San Francisco’s drag scene and I’ve had friends transition. They’re very different things entirely. Different worlds.

  18. says

    Susan Sarandon hit the nail on the head. GLAAD needs to chill out and smoke a joint and stop acting like PETA did when President Obama killed that fly in an interview.

    Sometimes there are some, even historically negative, words and labels that are tossed around but only in good fun or with the best intentions. GLAAD does good things for America on a daily basis, but they need to calm down.

  19. says

    This comment thread is just more evidence than when it comes to Transgender issues, Gay people haven’t even got half a clue. “Tranny” is a slur, GLAAD is right on the money this time, and Susan Sarandon needs a brain enema! It never ceases to amaze me, how much we don’t want conditions to change for the better; there’s no form of homophobia or transphobia we won’t accomodate under the guise of shouting down “political correctness”. The world’s ignorance about LGBT folk isn’t going to go away, so why fight it? Let’s just break off a piece of it, why don’t we? Pathetic and nauseating! When we give this kind of dehumanizing language a pass, we piss on the graves of Angie Zapata, Lateisha Green and every other Transsexual hate crime victim.

  20. Zlick says

    You’re right about one thing, Stuffed Animal: The world’s ignorance isn’t going to go away. And if gay folk are clueless about the “T-word,” consider how educated the general public might be on the subject.

    So changing the world’s ignorance is a pretty tall order, but taking back a word to de-fang it is something that can be done much more locally. I never use the T-word, and am not about to start now that I’m learning more and more that it’s often taken as offensive. But I use “faggot” lightly all the time, taking what I think is a brilliant page from the N-word playbook.

    That strategy’s not for everyone, but I think it’s far better to try and change the meaning of a word than to demand the world stop using it.

  21. Lexxvs says

    The power to cause harm by a word is directly proportional to the fear to pronounce it. So as long as tranny becomes a prohibited word, the more they will imply that the word itself refers to someone obscure and undesirable. And obviously when in fiction there are words that are required to be expressed because they happen in real life.
    I agree with Sarandon. Since a while ago GLAAD seems a little lost, as if they need to justify their existence sometimes overreacting.

  22. cmh says

    I’m a little surprised by the commentary as I’ve never heard the word used in other than the form of an insult, i.e., “you look like a tranny mess.” I’ve certainly never heard anyone use the term to describe themselves in any positive way.

  23. Martin A. says

    GLAAD seriously needs to pick and choose their battles.

    This is getting RIDICULOUS! Overreaction much?!?!

    As we fight to earn our equality — we CANNOT fall into the “political correctness” trap. Especially with things AS CELEBRATORY OF HOMOSEXUALITY AS “GLEE” — or even supporters like Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and Vince Vaughn.

    Seriously, GLAAD — get it together. People are getting beaten to death or committing suicide — and it’s not because someone made a quip on the gayest show on television!!!

  24. john D says

    GLAAD is out of control. They spend more time attacking our friends for not using the pc words of the moment and pass over the homophobia and transphobia of the powerful. This is the group that made no complaints about the homophobia in “Wild Hogs” and then went after Kevin Smith.

    If they really want to earn their keep, they should be keeping a watch on anti-gay commentators in the media, clergy who preach hate from the pulpit, politicians who defame gay and transgender people to get votes.

    When that’s done, maybe they can find some time to complain about the word choice in a gay-positive tv show.

  25. Alex M says

    I really respect GLAAD and what they stand for. Some might think they’re blowing things out of proportion, but that is just as dramatic as GLAADs alleged reaction to the word tranny. They’re just drawing attention to the potentially derogatory use of a word that hurts many people. It’s their job. Relax.

  26. IAN F says

    I do see a lot of comments on gay sites throwing around tranny as a negative towards other gay men who are not drag queens or transexuals. This is done mostly by gay men who are ashamed of effeminate gay men.

    I don’t want to lose the word but I’d like to see the use of it as a pejorative stop.

  27. Tom says

    I guess after you’ve lived in the West Village for an extended period of time (she did or does), you hear all kinds of words being used like the one at issue here. The thing is, in progressive, enlightened places like NYC, it’s the very people those words are sometimes used to insult that are using the words! One can become somewhat desensitized and forget what the rest of the “real” world is like. I hear more gay guys saying “fag” than anyone! I call them out on it, and reiterate, that I don’t like it.

    I hope she apologizes. Even ultra pro-gay Susan can make a mistake.

  28. dvdcchn says

    to many people here are so hyper sensitive. the word homosexual was used as a derogatory word, as was gay and queer, must we stop using those words as well? why cant we as a people, “take the word back” ? in a sterile world to word is used, nor is any offensive. yet there are gay who gladly use the word queer to describe themselves, i am one of them, are we wrong? should we say we are Qu_ _ r? GLBT, and all the other letters now needed to be added on, need to lighten up, some say “fag” and “tranny” as we one said “gay” and “queer.” happily, institutions such as GLAAD are losing relevancy. Having a gay character or excuse me, a homosexual character, is not groundbreaking anymore.

  29. Bryan says

    “Trannie” was one of the few things that wasn’t an unmitigated, craven, luke-warm, offensive misguided, clueless, gutless disaster in Glee’s pathetic sanitization of RHPS.

    New rule: nothing said by anyone who’s been auto-tuned matters.

  30. Panthera says

    Stuffed Animal said:
    This comment thread is just more evidence than when it comes to Transgender issues, Gay people haven’t even got half a clue.
    endquote

    I’d like to remind you of two things, Stuffed Animal:

    1)One can easily be transgender or a member of the many non-cis subsets thereof and still be GAY.
    2)Saying gays haven’t got a clue, apart from the irrationality I highlighted in (1), is deeply insulting.

    Right now, this morning (CET), there is a rather heated discussion over on boxturtle over whether “cis” may be used or not…and the discussion is just barely civil.

    Right now, this moment, there is a fight over at Pam’s with a few atheists demanding believers stop childishly believing and a few who grasp logic asking that people stop “proving” negatives.

    Here, we have this pissing contest going on…and not even two weeks ago, I recall a really big blow up because some of us draw the line at four letters and refuse to throw in the whole alphabet soup…which is now out to “LGBTQQIAA” in some politically correct circles. Don’t the PC-Police comprehend how ridiculous that is? It’s not inclusive at that point, it’s just plain laughable. And not in the sense of “with us” but “at us”.

    Puh-lease, Mary.

    Honestly, if this is the level of our discourse, we don’t need the christianists to destroy us, we’re are doing very well at it ourselves.

  31. jason says

    Sarandon isn’t a man. For starters, she cannot even begin to experience the discrimination that male homosexuals and male bisexuals have faced through the years. She can read about it but she cannot experience it. Keep in mind that laws against homosexuality were directed at male homosexuality, not female homosexuality.

    As for transvestism, it’s a form of performance art or fetish, not homosexuality. However, the hatred directed at transvestites is very similar to that directed against homosexuals, particularly male homosexuals. It’s based on a perceived challenge to masculinity and patriarchal notions.

    Is GLAAD out of control? I don’t think so. If anything, GLAAD is very unwilling to take on popular culture, especially the music industry. Is it possible that Sarandon is peeved that GLAAD attacked fellow thespian Vince Vaughn’s movie The Dilemma on the basis that it included an anti-gay slur?????

  32. arch says

    my transgender friends use the term but that does not necessarily allow me to use it – bit like queer for my straight friends- none of them would feel comfortable using it about me but I culd if i was feeling militant or flipant, odd but true, bit like the “n” word, my black friends use it but i never would, same for the chinese and jews I know, we all have subjective language barriers that are to a great extent political but they do need to be respected if they are real.

  33. Esurb says

    The once-effective gay political voices have been co-opted by the chance to be filmed on Obama’s red carpet–trading their objection to his closeted homophobia and insulting broken promises for a chance to dine on Michelle’s crumpets. They make assanine objections like the one to Glee as a red-herring to fog their gutless sell-out.

  34. says

    I think I see the confusion here drag queens love calling themselves trannies. Transsexuals feel it’s deragetory. So how ’bout if we just call drag queens trannies and the trans people trans gendered? Or is that trying to split the baby?

  35. MichaelJ says

    I basically agree with Susan. Once again, GLAAD is missing the forest for the trees (as well as focusing on the wrong trees). I’ve been amazed by what they choose to get upset about.

  36. mike says

    @TANK I knew you’d come through with some completely disgusting, idiotic remark. One can always rely on you to sleaze up the boards.

    @STEPHEN Nice, thoughtful post, but I slightly disagree with your assessment of evolving language.

    I wouldn’t say that the word “gay” “only recently” came to mean “homosexual”, unless you are much older than I imagine and have been around since at least the 1920s and 1930s, when “gay” was used in the homosexual underground as an auto-descriptive. “Gay” doesn’t necessarily mean “happy”. It’s meaning is more nuanced, e.g. “light-hearted” or “carefree”.

    My personal awareness of “gay” being used as a cultural word for “homosexual” goes back to at least 1967-1968.

    The same with “queer”. Yes, it’s traditional meaning is “weird” or “unusual”. But, in my memory, it was used as a hateful epitaph for “homosexual”, spat out by straights with contempt and vitriol. I remember a young guy, around 17 or 18 years old at the time, who was pounced on by a group of his peers and was beaten to a bloody pulp, all the while they were screaming “fucking queer”, “dirty queer”, “filthy, fucking queer”.

    “Queer” has never had any connotation for me as “weird”. It was always a word I feared to be called. I cringed each time I heard it uttered, whether it was directed towards me or not, because it was a word that I associated with violence and venomous hatred.

    Sorry, everyone, for the hair-splitting and semantics, but STEPHEN, your overall take on language is spot-on. Words and their traditional meanings do change. A vibrant language is one that evolves along with the culture and society in which it is spoken.

    Thus, I cannot understand GLAAD’s reaction to the use of “tranny” in a very gay-friendly program. I have never heard “tranny” being used as a hateful comment. Having known quite a few trans-gender, trans-sexual people, I actually picked up on “tranny” from them.

    It’s not a word I use glibly or blithely either. But, contextually as far as “Glee” is concerned, I did not see it as even remotely derogatory. Maybe I missed something? I don’t think I did.

    But, overwrought GLAAD and bloated HRC both need to tone it down a notch.

    I stopped donating to the HRC when I realized it was nothing more than a bunch of elitist gays who cared more about their social status and cared less about actually helping the “Gay Pride riff-raff” (as one functionary of HRC had the audacity to say to me once).

    GLAAD surely IS on the verge of becoming another “PETA”. Yes, we must speak up and speak out when the LGBT community is slandered or attacked by homophobes, but please, let’s pick our fights wisely.

    GLAAD and HRC are assuming too much if they think that they speak for ALL LGBT people.

    They don’t.

  37. Erizzle says

    My friend who is a beautiful girl now randomly refers to herself as a tranny and for me I was taken back by it because you would never know she used to be a boy and I’ve never considered her to be a tranny (but thats what she is) and she says that to me, “but thats what I am haha” Nothing wrong with saying it!

  38. Philip in London says

    Obama killed a fly?
    What a drag!…. ‘Oh, no… hang on, I cant say that can I?’…
    Gee Whizz Batman (Now there was a man who looked good in tights)!……

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