Sunday, August 25, 2013

Words, words and more words.

As a writer I tend to have quite a bit of experience with words. I know how to make them come together to cause a myriad of emotions. I can titillate the senses. I can make you think. Well at least I hope I can. I'm not actually successful at this whole self-promotion thing so we'll never know.

Anyway. I know better than anyone else that words can and will hurt. This doesn't stem from just being a writer. It also comes from being an oddball and having hateful words thrown in my direction. Whoever came up with "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" was obviously never verbally abused.

There will be argument about people needing to "grow a back bone" or to "stop being a baby" because "they're just words." But words are important. I mean, how else would I be communicating this to you without words? I can't sign it to you. I can't think it to you in a stream of images. Even in silent movies they had breaks for words to get the point across.

Words are important to every day living. They can break or make a person. Sometimes actions are louder but "the pen is mightier than the sword" so to speak. I've always been that type of person. I can get my feelings and emotions across better when I write them down instead of saying them out loud.

Anyway, I'm writing this because I've noticed that people don't take words seriously. There's this person I kind of follow on tumblr who recently went through a bout of people poking fun at him because of a "tranny." It's funny because when I first started following this person, I didn't really like him. Following made me realize he's not as much of an ass as I thought he was.

That's not the point. What the point is that words can hurt. Calling someone a "tranny" is offensive. Look it up, even the dictionary lists it as derogatory slang. It's the same with using the word "cunt" which has become popular in New York for some crazy reason. That's a whole other story.

Now this simple bit of name calling (the tranny thing) led to someone else saying that they don't consider the word "tranny" offensive and that it's stupid to be mad at it. This other person made a comment on how someone who hasn't had a sex-change should not care if they are or aren't called a tranny and now we've got a full blown case of face-palming on our hands.

The person who was being called a "tranny" identified as a transgender, not a transsexual. There IS a difference. A transgender is:
  • "Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender roles, but combines or moves between these."
  • "People who were assigned a sex, usually at birth and based on their genitals, but who feel that this is a false or incomplete description of themselves."
  • "Non-identification with, or non-presentation as, the sex (and assumed gender) one was assigned at birth."

  • A transsexual is:
    an individual who identifies with a gender inconsistent or not culturally associated with their assigned sex, i.e. in which a person's assigned sex at birth conflicts with their psychological gender.

    The difference? A transsexual will normally go for gender reassignment surgery because they feel like they are trapped in the wrong physical body. A transgender WILL NOT go for reassignment surgery because they identify as BOTH genders or feel that neither one or the other gender describes them. The similarity? BOTH COULD HAVE (transsexuals do have for sure) a preferred personal pronoun and its rude NOT to call them that personal pronoun if they've made that pronoun known. The transgender in question says "whatever" to personal pronouns but there are those that will be "call me she" or "call me he" despite identifying as both or neither. It's usually just for easiness sake for everyone NOT in their body.

    Regardless, it IS WRONG to call a person who identifies as a transgender a tranny. It's just as wrong to call a transsexual a tranny because tranny is a derogatory term. It's an insult made by closed-minded people to make fun of someone they don't understand or like. Just like the c-word and the n-word.

    Now, all of this COULD HAVE BEEN avoided if the second person (the one saying tranny shouldn't be offensive) took a moment or two to actually look up the meaning of the word tranny, look up the definition of the word transsexual, and look up the definition of the word transgender. It could have saved everyone involved (including me who doesn't have a tumblr account and can't comment directly) a lot of face-palming and head-desking.

    See, that's one of the problems in our world. We don't want to stop and learn the true definition of these new terms and words. Some people are perfectly content to think that transsexual and transgender can be used interchangeably when there are big differences between those groups.

    Why does this bug me? I'm not either but I write about characters who are. I know from personal experience that it doesn't take long to look up ANYTHING online. We live in an age where we can open an internet browser ON THE RUN (Read: on your phone) and so long as we get a signal can find ANY information in a few seconds. It boggles my mind that more people AREN'T taking advantage of this.

    People would rather look silly then spend two seconds to check their facts. It's frustrating to someone like me who loves words so much that people won't spend a moment of their lives to check and see what the true meaning behind certain words are. It doesn't take long, so why not go through the effort? Who knows, you might educate yourself and come out as a better person.

    For me, I'll never stop loving words. Going blind or being blinded is my biggest fear because then the words would be gone. I shudder to think of what I would do if that happens. But for now I will enjoy words and continue to use this technology we have to be able to better my words.

    Until next time: “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.” - Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind  

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