Apologies and Amends – Moving the Dialogue Abt Language Forward

I recently posted a commentary decrying a video that Pittsburgh’s own Alaska Thunderfuck had posted on YouTube – a video depicting a drag queen putting a bullet into the head of trans activist, Parker Marie Molloy. It was an appalling contribution to a rancorous debate about the use of the words “tranny” and “shemale” and how those words impact the lives of trans people.

This morning, I listened the latest podcast from “Feast of Fun” in which Parker was interviewed about this and many other issues. It was thoughtful and a helpful way to re-anchor the conversation in the lives of real people. During the show, Parker publicly apologized to Calpernia Addams for describing her as a drag queen in her writing. And Alaska called in to the show to talk with Parker directly.

Alaska apologized for posting the video. They said they regretted hurting someone’s feelings and that it was poor judgement. Alaska made another video depicting what would be a more harmonious relationship with Parker. Watch for yourself:

What I thought was the most interesting point was Alaska’s acknowledgement that *not* using these words does not impact their art, emphasizing that if trans people are hurt by these words – drag performers should not use them.

Parker told me that she accepted Alaska’s apology and had been sincere in her apologies to Calpernia. I asked her what would be a good next step. She replied:

I’d love to see some sort of LGBT roundtable on the topic of identities and intra-LGBT language. I’d happily take part.

This is something I’ve been pondering since the situation began bubbling over  – the voices of gay white men were dominating the conversation for quite a while. And realistically, that’s who holds the purse strings right? So perhaps the supportive thing to do would be to facilitate (and fund) that roundtable discussion. Click on the image to listen to the 60 minute podcast.

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