00:00 Opening
00:59 Introduction
– Explanation of changes
04:11 Transgender in film
12:00 Upcoming episodes & contact information
13:45 Promo for “Empress Sword” by Paulette Jaxton

Links mentioned:
List of transgender characters in film and TV (Wikipedia)
What’s In a Name? (rationale for changing podcast name)
Empress Sword by Paulette Jaxton

Email: feedback@transrelating.com
Twitter: twitter.com/DDog
Podcast blog: http://transrelating.com

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License

Trans(re)lating 005: Trans Film


This promo is new, featuring some gender-bending characters known in myth and fiction, and 60 seconds long.

Trans(re)lating promo 2 (60 seconds)

I redid the original promo so that it would feature the new music and new name and other info, and tweaked it a little so it’s only 30 seconds long.

Trans(re)lating promo 1 (30 seconds)

Trans(re)lating: New Theme

I made this in about an hour in Garage Band, after a couple of false starts trying to find my rhythm. It’s just a mix of about six or seven samples, but I like it.

Embellish it as you see fit, just let me know so I can hear what you’ve done with it. ūüôā

Licensing: Creative Commons License
Transrelating Theme by DDog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Transrelating theme

Welcome the Second

My name is DDog, and this is the reboot of my podcast, Trans(re)lating.

It was formerly the Ask A Tranny Podcast, which had to be changed, for reasons outlined in detail here. The short version is that the word “tranny” is a slur that some trans people attempt to reclaim, as was my intention with having it in the name of my podcast. However, as a trans man, I am responding to the many people who have expressed cogent doubts that trans men and masculine-identified genderqueer people have adequate stake in the word to properly reclaim it, by choosing not to use the word. I do not wish to participate in transmisogyny and I do not wish to perpetuate the idea that “tranny” is acceptable for wide-spread use. I decided I could no longer in good conscience use it in the title for a project that is supposed to be educational.

The original LibSyn page will remain up, as an archive for the episodes I’ve already released under the old name and a place to host files going forward. Those who are already subscribed will hopefully not notice a difference because I’m attempting some Feedburner magic to make all future episodes appear in my listeners’ podcatchers. Some previous posts like my podroll and resources lists will be reposted here for continuity’s sake. The old episodes will be linked in place here but without audio attached, so new listeners can go back and listen to the first six episodes on the old blog but old listeners won’t have to re-download them.

I hope you enjoy your stay.

I’ll be posting an audio version of this for the people who just listen to the podcast and don’t read the blog.

I will be changing the name of this podcast to Trans(re)lating.

At some point I will post the video of the same name I created for an activism class a few years ago, once I have the permission of all the participants. I’d planned to do it anyway, but it ties in nicely in this case.

The only problem now is how to make the transition. This blog, all previous episodes, my Feedburner account, and the email address associated with this podcast are all “ask a tranny.”

  1. I don’t think I can change the LibSyn address unless I buy a new account, and either cancel this one, or keep it to maintain the six episodes I’ve already posted. I don’t want to just disappear the record created on this site (episodes, posts, comments), but I also don’t want to keep paying for a website I’m no longer using. I think I could mask it with another domain name, but I don’t know whether that means no one will see the LibSyn address again or the new URL will merely redirect.
  2. I¬†may¬†redo the episodes I’ve already done. There are only six of them after all, one of which doesn’t even have the old opener/closer; it wouldn’t be that hard to edit in new titles and contact information. I don’t want to perpetuate a title I have decided is problematic for me, but I also don’t want to pretend I didn’t start out as Ask A Tranny.
  3. I can change the name in the Feedburner link easily, but I don’t know how that will affect subscribers. Most of my listeners use iTunes and I¬†think¬†I can change the feed that iTunes pulls down without too much trouble, but I don’t want to strand those who don’t use iTunes.
  4. All decent variations of “transrelating” that I can think of are unavailable as Gmail addresses. I don’t use my personal email address for the podcast because it’s long, obscure, and hard to spell.

I know I should have thought about this when I started the podcast last year, but I was in a different place last year. (Weren’t we all.)

I’ll also be changing the format slightly to go with the new name. I realized I had a lot of episodes I wanted to do without listener questions associated with them. I’ll still be answering questions (I’ve got four or five in the pipeline right now) so please keep sending them in, but I also want to do videos, book and movie reviews, interviews and discussions, feedback, and general topics without ending up with more “special” episodes than regular ones. Special episodes will probably end up being cross-posted episodes from other podcasts I think are relevant.

Thanks for sticking by me during my erratic update schedule. I do have a running list of possible future episodes that’s over 30 ideas long now; the only thing is to get back on a schedule for writing and recording them. My semester is almost over, so I should be able to start back up properly by January.

If anyone has any tips or comments, I’d appreciate it.

This post is in regard to the former name of the podcast.

I’m having a dilemma with regard to the name of this podcast.

I don’t know how long it has been going on, but there’s a bit of a debate going on about the word “tranny.” As you know (because I’ve mentioned it on at least two episodes), this word currently carries a significantly negative connotation. Some trans people, I for one, are trying to reclaim this word, using it as an identity marker and allowing those we trust to use it in reference to us with an affectionate connotation. Some trans women are of the opinion that trans men are unable to reclaim this word because we had no claim to it in the first place; that the word is only used against trans women, and therefore trans women have the power to say whether it is worth reclaiming or not, and any trans men using it are not¬†reclaiming but misappropriating it and perpetuating transmisogyny.

I disagree with this position inasmuch as I, as a trans man,¬†have¬†been called a tranny as a slur, and other trans men of my acquaintance have as well. This is not a trans woman’s problem alone. However, with the notable exceptions of¬†Kate Bornstein who says “tranny” was originally used by Australian drag queens as a term of solidarity¬†and the performers in¬†the Tranny Roadshow, many trans women seem to want nothing to do with this word ever again, and see no use in it being reclaimed by anyone.

Tobi Hill-Meyer says on her blog, “When trans women are told that they are politically ignorant when they object to trans men ‘reclaiming’ a derogatory term that has been used specifically against trans women and not against trans men, that‚Äôs transmisogyny.” The first part of this is very important. When trans women object to the use of “tranny,” often times by trans men¬†but not always, a common response is an explanation of what reclamation is, which suggests that trans women aren’t politically savvy enough to know that already, and that as soon as that little matter is cleared up there’s no reason to object to the word being used.

My friend¬†Trannysaurus¬†originally turned me on to this issue in¬†his post about it¬†a few months ago, in which he responded to¬†a post by Cedarquestioning the “tranny” reclamation project. I’m not going to repeat all of it as it stands better on its own, and has more links for further reading. Since then I’ve been considering my own use of the term more closely. And, considering as I’ve told listeners in at least two episodes that “tranny” is a slur and in general shouldn’t be used, I thought I should address the matter here.

I’m going to resort to an imperfect analogy for this part of my analysis. I don’t think I would have been comfortable calling my podcast “Ask a Queer.” I identify my sexuality as queer, I study queer theory, I speak of the queer community, and I frequently ponder how the concept “queer” is congruent to other concepts such as “kink”; reclaiming “queer” as a word is a project I actively engage in and find worthy. But to use queer as a noun that stands in for a particular person? I just can’t do it. After spending more time with¬†Doombat¬†this year, I’ve become more accustomed to using “queers” as a collective noun because ze tends to use it that way.¬† But I say “I’m queer,” not “I’m a queer.”¬† The second one just feels wrong.

I think it would be equally difficult for me to reference a work that used the word “queer” in such a way. And don’t even get me started on “fag” and its variants; I can’t say it out loud without stumbling, and even typing it felt uncomfortable; “dyke,” while more comfortable than “fag,” probably because I tend to hang out with lesbians more often than gay men, I still avoid using. If I were trying to promote a creative project that I thought had good content but had a name that I thought was offensive, oppressive, ignorant, inciting, or just made me uncomfortable, even if the name were something I could technically lay claim to as an in-group member, I’d have a hard time of it.

And even if I weren’t trying to promote it to others but just listen to/watch/read/experience it, I might not even be able to get past the title to the content.¬†Kynn suggests¬†that using language like this can create an echo chamber, where only the people who can get behind its use for whatever reason will take part in the experience, and those who object to it tend to self-select out of the experience or may be deliberately shut out when they voice their concern. Together with the political na√Įvet√© construction, this gets polarized fast and is easily perpetuated, leaving even more trans women solidly out of the so-called progressive movement than already were due to other transmisogynistic rhetoric from feminists and lesbians and womyn-born-womyn-only spaces over the decades.

Kynn also raises the point, who are we talking to when we use this word in public communication? Leaving aside the question of what communication these days¬†isn’t¬†public for now, this is an important point. We have to consider the audience: who will see the use of the word and what reaction will they have?

  1. The people who use the word already in earnest dismissal of others’ humanity. These people are probably not going to learn anything from a trans advocacy project no matter what its title.
  2. The people who are not already part of the community and may be curious to know more. Shock value or genuine reclamation may draw these people in. However, using the word in education projects can promote the idea that using it in general is okay, especially if someone in this group doesn’t actually make the jump from the title to the experience.
  3. The people who are part of the community and dislike the word. They are not going to feel included, especially if their attempts to request a change are not responded to.
  4. The people who are using the word in a positive sense and like it that way. These people are probably not going to be affected either way, and will continue using or not using it in the places they see fit.

If we’re talking game theory, this clearly points to groups 1 and 4 being unaffected by word-choice, and groups 2 and 3 potentially being very negatively affected by it. That seems to indicate that it’s better not to use the word in educational projects like this one.

The only response I can make to that is that the word’s not going to get any better if we don’t use it in positive ways, a point thatTrannysaurus makes. But I have to in turn respond to that by saying, using a word in positive ways usually doesn’t make it hurt any less when it’s used negatively. For people who are not in-group to me, casual uses of “tranny” to refer to anyone who hasn’t specifically cleared it will still raise alarm bells, despite my own liberal use of it in my own circles to refer to myself. And¬†as queenemily says, “the word ‘tranny’ gets used with alarming regularity in the media, and I‚Äôm not sure it actually registers that it¬†is¬†a slur.¬† It‚Äôs always so jolly, like it‚Äôs a whimsical, fun term that cis people can throw around with abandon.¬† Always with the implication that trans people are laughably pathetic.¬† Because my identity, our history,¬†of itself¬†is a joke.” Trying to reclaim this word in public spaces may not subvert this connotation at all to many audiences, and even reinforce it.

I think reclaiming “tranny” is a useful project, and one is definitely possible on a personal basis. As¬†a performance piece, I can’t say. I’ve been studying¬†deconstruction¬†a lot this semester, and we’ve read several plays/performance pieces that make me intensely uncomfortable because of their subject matter, and don’t make a whole lot of sense until I read the background material and analysis; I can’t say that these pieces are useless or counterproductive just because they have that effect on me. (And I think there are other issues surrounding the site of performance pieces that feed into/run parallel to common criticisms of drag shows, but that’s another topic for another time.)

But with this podcast in particular (and¬†the Q & A event that Kynn criticizes), I don’t think my work is functioning as a performance piece, but instead as an educational project. And I’m not sure I can continue to attempt to do education work under the banner of this word that is so divisive to my community.

Bonus facts that didn’t seem to fit in the post proper:

With safe-search turned off, Google returns some 14 million hits for “tranny,” overwhelmingly dominated by porn. Safe-search returns 8 million; the hits that aren’t actually referencing automobile parts feature the words of such popular and¬†hilarious¬†figures as Perez Hilton and Christian Siriano. This website is now the top hit for “ask a tranny,” both with quotes and without.

I realize this is a long piece and I hope it wasn’t too dense; I tried to avoid jargon but I think some slipped in. I haven’t decided for sure whether I will change the name, but I have a few alternatives in mind and I will give everyone fair warning for feed updating if I do decide to change it.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear listeners’ feedback on this matter.