Doctor Who Star John Barrowman Tells Trans Community To ‘Lighten Up’ After Using The Word ‘Tranny’

Openly gay actor John Barrowman has come under fire from members of the trans community once again for comments he made in October last year in which he used the slur word ‘tranny’, then telling members of the transgender community who were offended to ‘lighten up’.

The argument originally started in October when Barrowman used the term in a behind the scenes video for popular comic book television series ‘Arrow’ in which he used the phrase ‘tranny-tastic’. This spurred multiple complaints, news articles and blog pieces about the incident in which Barrowman was called out for using a slur word when he claims to be an ally of the transgender community.

After the incident Barrowman released a Q&A video where he directly addressed the complaints, stating that he felt that there was nothing wrong with using the term tranny, used it several more times there and then, and even went on to say that those people who were offended were just ‘haters’.

The argument has been reignited once again, however, when a Twitter user called Barrowman out on his unapologetic use of a term that has been used to degrade and humiliate the trans community. Barrowman’s response was less than satisfactory to say the least.

Barrowman’s response of still dodging any acknowledgement that he is in the wrong stirred a whole string of critical responses from members of the trans community.

As you can see things got quite heated, the full chain of tweets is available for viewing on Twitter right now and makes for some pretty amazing reading. Amazing not because of the outcry against Barrowman, but the number of fans who rose to his defence, claiming that because he’s a supporter of the LGBT community he should get a free pass to use the word Tranny, or that the trans community are the ones in the wrong for finding offense with his words.

Barrowman was quick to defend himself, stating that ‘In general no one know my struggles or a lot of my history so be careful when u judge and throw daggers’. Eventually the argument seemed to get too much for Barrowman and he sent out a tweet asking those people who are upset with his actions to ‘fuck off’.

The problem with situations like this is that it occurs when one side refuses to budge. I’m not talking about the trans community not backing down as he and his fans call for, that would be wrong. It’s Barrowman himself that needs to back down here. he needs to step back, acknowledge that he spoke out of turn, made offence where it was not his intention and apologise. If he had done that to begin with this whole thing would have been forgotten.

Instead what we have is one of the biggest LGBT stars in the western world, with massive fan bases both in Europe and America, saying that it’s okay to use the word Tranny. He’s showing people that you can be an active supporter of the LGBT community but still get away with abusing trans people.

By not acknowledging that what he has said is wrong or offensive he’s belittling a whole section of the LGBT community. Perhaps he’s more of an LGB supporter than an LGBT supporter.

What really angers me though is that people are defending him. He’s being forgiven by so many people. If he had turned around and said faggot or nigger would the world be so quick to defend his right to use those words? Would he himself hear the term faggot and think ‘well that’s okay for that person to say that’? No, he’d challenge it, and people would be behind him.

No, this is just another example of how when push comes to shove the trans community are seen as a joke. Our feelings mean nothing. Our rights don’t count. Our safety doesn’t matter. People should be free to insult us at the drop of a hat without any repercussions. We should be ignored and vilified when we speak out about injustices.

If everyone followed John Barrowmans example as an ‘ally’ then the world would be an even more terrible place for transgender people. With an ally like this who the hell needs enemies?

Amy.

xx

Follow Amy on Twitter

Join Amy on Facebook

Add Amy on Tumblr

Join Her Fans on Facebook

 

Amy is a journalist and editor contributing the websites Planet Transgender, Gay News Network, The Bottle Episode, The Retro Box and Claire Channel. Amy is also a published comic book writer and letterer.

In addition to her writing Amy has also worked with the Centre For Hate Crime Studies in Leicester and has worked in the capacity of an advisor to the United Nations Entity For Gender Equality and The Empowerment of Women.

  • 7.3K
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    7.3K
    Shares

Facebook Comments

6 Responses to Doctor Who Star John Barrowman Tells Trans Community To ‘Lighten Up’ After Using The Word ‘Tranny’

  1. Samantha gardstein June 20, 2015 at 8:37 am

    I find the term tranny offensive im tg my self

  2. Elizabeth Savage June 20, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    My comment was to show that words do indeed hurt and that everyone should take care in how they use them. Too many gay men use that word callously and then try to deny us, as trans people, our feelings by telling us to lighten up, to not take ourselves too seriously. I called John Barrowman a faggot so maybe he might see how it feels. I’ve dealt with verbal abuse all my life so I know that words hurt. I am done turning the other cheek and being the better person. If enough transgender people speak up and express how they feel about it then maybe he will think twice before using that word again. As it stands I don’t see him as an ally of transgender people.

  3. Katie Cornhill March 28, 2016 at 4:10 am

    Ouch! Such a shame that John Barrowman has made an error in his judgement (benefit of the doubt given). Although it is not a word that offends everyone in, associated with, or even perceived to be within the Trans* community, it pains me as it does many others because of abuse experienced. But the reaction to this must be to step up and provide education and space to allow him, and anyone else who does not understand, to understand why this term should not be used in general circulation, and should be limited to being used in the presence of an audience that it does not offend, and once that is confirmed. We as a Trans* community must show that we want freedom from the prison of prejudice and inequality that exists within society, of which language contributes to and perpetuates. We must show that we will not tolerate the use of this word to cause offence to anyone but also that we are not bitter or indeed hateful of anyone that uses it in such an inappropriate context.

    Perhaps Mr Barrowman would like to do something positive to rectify his error of judgement and do some work with quiltbag the UK Fire and Rescue Service support network (quiltbagfire.co.uk). Look forward to hearing from you John?

    Kindest Regards
    Katie Cornhill
    quiltbag chair

  4. Dr. Who June 1, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Lighten up

    • Cat June 2, 2016 at 11:12 am

      You first.

  5. Rebecca Sunshine June 3, 2016 at 6:48 am

    As someone on the Trans* Spectrum, I get really pissed when I see people getting upset over a word. I only get pissed off when the word is USED in a derogetory manner.