Neil Patrick Harris | News | Transgender

Neil Patrick Harris Under Fire for 'Tranny' Slur on Morning Show: VIDEO


Neil Patrick Harris apologized today for using the word "tranny" on Live with Regis and Kelly this week.

Tweeted Harris: "Truly sorry for saying the word 'tranny' on Live this week. Twice! Should have been more thoughtful. Didn't at all mean to offend."


Harris, with Kelly Ripa had inhaled from a canister of Sulfur Hexafluoride, a chemical gas that makes your voice deep, and said, "I've never sounded more like a tranny in my life" after doing an imitation of serial killer Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs.

The moment caught the attention of trans bloggers who rightfully condemned the comparison, as well as Dan Savage, who was recently glitterbombed by trans activists who said they were angry about, among other things, his use of the word "tranny". Savage's response to the NPH incident is here.

GLAAD said it is reaching out to Harris about the incident:

It’s heartening to see a celebrity of Harris’ stature recognize and apologize for using the slur in such a timely manner, and for greater media attention being paid to its use.  Many people do not realize that the word "tr*nny" is one of the most hurtful and dehumanizing slurs that transgender people hear.  Most transgender people associate that word with personal experiences of violence, hatred and derision.

GLAAD is reaching out to Mr. Harris about the incident.

Clip is posted, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. Wow, tranny. Yes folks, empower the word tranny by giving it such a powerful derogatory energy. Even more pathetic are those who go as far as to write tranny skipping some letter. The way to weak a word is by taking away all the harm the haters suppose it has. If I say “apple” and some people get hysterical because (fill the trauma here because some decided to use it in a hateful way), then some haters will feel more compelled –and powerful- to use it. And will say it anyways. Change the meaning of the word by accepting it and the haters will have to resort to their creativity, and we know they usually don’t have much.
    By the way, I’m tired of those who claim to be more papist than the Pope himself. Really. And I’m not the only one.

    Posted by: Lexxvs | Dec 2, 2011 4:24:53 PM

  2. GLAAD & Media,

    Here's a chill pill. Make sure you've eaten food before you swallow it.

    Posted by: Edd | Dec 2, 2011 4:34:10 PM

  3. We really need to lighten up.

    Posted by: Little Orphan Tranny | Dec 2, 2011 4:34:17 PM

  4. hm, i posted something an hour ago that didn't seem to come through, so i'll try again:

    little kiwi is totally right here - if you're cisgendered (gay or no), you don't get to tell transpeople what words they should or should not be offended by. and i don't think you can just say "oh, they're just words" - words have contexts and histories, language doesn't exist in a vacuum, and you can't simply brush this aside by invoking the "PC police" bogeyman. (which, seriously, can we PLEASE stop doing that? right-wing politicians use this rhetoric all the time to shut down debates that they don't want to have.)

    also this comment from david ehrenstein:

    "His apology won't be enough for them. They'll demand he apologize for being "cisgendered male" -- which as we all know is the worst thing in the world. Only the transgendered count. Isn't that right folks?"

    yes, that's totally what they're gonna do. dude, get over your persecution complex.

    Posted by: joseph | Dec 2, 2011 4:36:53 PM

  5. I am so confused because all of my trans friends refer to themselves and their trans friends as trannies.

    Posted by: dollvomit | Dec 2, 2011 4:44:27 PM

  6. Give me a break!

    Posted by: jaragon | Dec 2, 2011 5:33:10 PM

  7. Dan Savage's response was to post a whiny complaint about how he's been called transphobic.

    Posted by: Bbb | Dec 2, 2011 6:25:29 PM

  8. There's nothing complex save your projection of persecuation, Joseph.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 2, 2011 6:32:58 PM

  9. I just don't see Tranny as a bad word. Like if one is being attacked I don't see the attacking saying "I'm going to kill you, you Tranny" Also this post makes me think TI may be right, We do take ourselves way too serious.

    Posted by: Billy | Dec 2, 2011 6:57:54 PM

  10. Oh pleaz...lighten up people. and grow up too. we're adults, not eight years old. if that is what upsets you, then you clearly have no life and watch no current news. maybe an hour doing community service or visiting a hospital full of people with REAL problems should be on your menu.

    Posted by: cari | Dec 2, 2011 7:12:32 PM

  11. I've never thought of tranny as an offensive word, I've used it on quite a few occasions. But when I think of those occasions, they usually have a negative connotation. If I say someone looks like a tranny or a tranny hot mess, it's usually a woman who looks butch or has too much makeup on... implying that she looks like a transvestite or a man dressed as a woman.

    Very much the same as when straight people say something is "gay" meaning its lame, weak or it sucks. It's about the context, and most people don't use the word "tranny" to describe anything positive. It's usually to make fun of something.

    In that light, I can see where they're coming from.

    Posted by: BEAHBEAH | Dec 2, 2011 7:19:58 PM

  12. BEAHBEAH - never used the word myself, but was thinking what you just wrote about as I processed all of this. If used, it's not used as a compliment. My first exposure to it was probably hearing Christian Sireano(sp?) use it. At the time, it seemed pretty nasty and condescending. I can understand why some people would take offense. Even if I did use the word, it would cause me no hardship to be considerate of the feelings of others and stop doing so.

    Posted by: TJ | Dec 2, 2011 7:42:28 PM

  13. How are transexuals or transgendered part of the LGB spectrum?

    Posted by: TJ | Dec 2, 2011 7:45:57 PM

  14. Good point about the comparison to "That's so gay." Yeah, gay in that sense is not used positively. To me, it's like "so what?" To others, it's the greatest of offenses. Yawn.

    I refrain from using "tranny" on the off chance it may cause someone offense, and I don't want to do that. Too bad, because I wouldn't mean it that way, and I think it's a rather cute and affectionate word.

    But I will continue to say, "That's so gay." I'm gay. And I can. And I will.

    Posted by: Zlick | Dec 2, 2011 8:00:45 PM

  15. >that's a different TJ, by the way<

    And ZLICK, way to show what a sensitive soul you are! Or was the word "smarmy" more what I was thinking?

    Posted by: TJ | Dec 2, 2011 8:45:24 PM

  16. Give me an f'in break folks. Really??? NPH couldnt be more committed to and representative of progressing GLBT rights. Its a word that he used to describe a funny voice. Get over it.

    Posted by: John | Dec 2, 2011 9:03:44 PM

  17. GLAAD & HRC need to disband & stop wasting EVERYONE'S Hard-Earned donations!

    Posted by: MoJo | Dec 2, 2011 10:10:12 PM

  18. rocky horror picture show....
    start over , people. NPHs reference is obvious.

    Posted by: my2cents | Dec 2, 2011 11:08:28 PM

  19. NPH is not only a great actor, and super hot, but he realizes that Tranny is offensive and apologizes for it? This man is fantastic. He should be wining awards for something!

    The whole Dan Savage debacle has created a lot of fever in the community. Not only were the gliterbombs stupid and misguided, but it's brought gay cis men out that not only defend tranny as a term of endearment, but proclaim cis as a slur! Those activists have actually done nothing but harm and brought nothing but infighting, IMO.

    Posted by: Sandie | Dec 2, 2011 11:43:32 PM

  20. BS. How can GLAAD excuse such blasphemy. It is ludacris and unmoral.

    However, I did chuckle..

    Posted by: hugh | Dec 3, 2011 12:01:16 AM

  21. This is RIDICULOUS. Tranny is NOT a bad word. Come to SF by friend and find out how it feels to be in truly accepting environment. I get called FAG and HOMO all the time by my friends. Those words have no power here.

    Posted by: jp | Dec 3, 2011 12:40:00 AM

  22. I think it is absolutely f*cking STUPID that this is such a big deal. Rap songs use one of the worst racial slurs in history yet I don't see any news freaking out. Truth is they don't know jack about transgenders or any of the struggles of those LGBTQ because I can assure you "Tranny" is an abbreviation. It would be like looking at a homosexual and calling them gay, GOD FORBID. Stop making people feel like asses, NPH is gay, why the F*CK would he use a demeaning slur like that one? but no you are right, let him learn from a perfect role model of political correctness, Daniel Tosh, you know the highest paid comedian in the world at the moment, then maybe NPH will learn how to be kind... -_-

    Posted by: Brandon Stevens | Dec 3, 2011 1:37:10 AM

  23. Grew up in the 90s with trannies. They taught me the word. By example they showed me it is a term of acknowledgement, affection and respect. Back then the ignorant and frightened used pejoratives like "faggot" and "queer" to abuse them along with the rest of us non-heteros. Apparently a new generation of haters and hatees is writing new rules for the rest of us. Smh ...

    Posted by: J.D. | Dec 3, 2011 5:09:57 AM

  24. So when does this end? At what point do people stop getting their panties in a wad over WORDS? I am a lesbian and have no problem when I hear the words people use to describe homosexuals. I feel that 95% of the artificial outrage people exhibit over terms is just that, fake. When you get shot at because you are gay, go on national television throwing a fit over it. If someone calls you gay or uses the word tranny, laugh and go on.

    Posted by: laprns | Dec 3, 2011 6:17:06 AM

  25. I use "tranny" and I'm not going to stop. I've only ever known it to be slang for transvestite. A hot tranny mess is someone who looks like a disheveled transvestite, it has nothing to do with a transgendered person. By joking about his deepened voice, it's clear NPH was joking about transvestites.

    To all those who are deeply offended: "lighten up, Francis"

    Posted by: joe | Dec 3, 2011 12:46:15 PM

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