Kelly Osbourne’s Transphobic Rant: Humiliated by Chicks With Dicks and Trannys
November 1, 2011
Boom! Dan Savage Gets Glitterbombed
November 4, 2011

Kelly Osbourne, Angie Zapata, and Why Words Matter

Yesterday I wrote a post about Kelly Osbourne’s transphobic rant in the Glamour UK. There were many attacks on my character by the Kelly Osbourne Twitter Army, but one tweet questioned my use of Angie Zapata in criticizing Kelly. I told Osbourne that:

@MissKellyO R U denying U used “chick w/ a dick” or tranny? Do U know how awful ths words R & how they dehumanize us to the point of death? The Transadvocate
@MissKellyO and you should learn to apologize when you say dehumanizing things that kill people. Your hateful words have wings. The Transadvocate
@MissKellyO People die because people talk like you did of us. You should learn what being an ally is. Seriously. The Transadvocate
@MissKellyO think abt ths. Angie Zapata’s killer referred 2 her as a thing & was shocked when he was convicted. Words have impact. The Transadvocate
@RiotDollie I wasn’t trying to humiliate @MissKellyO at all. Simply trying to point out to her that her words contribute to the harm of us The Transadvocate
@MissKellyO I wasn’t comparing you to that. I’m saying that his words about Angie are caused by the dehumanization of trans people. The Transadvocate
@MissKellyO it’s why words are so powerful. They have the ability to effect people’s motivations and actions. The Transadvocate
@MissKellyO that’s essentially wht I’m saying 2 U. I dont mean 2 harm U. But regardless of how U said it, yr words R harming trans people. The Transadvocate

My mention of Angie Zapata triggered this response:

@transadvocate using Angie Zapata’s death to promote your agenda is no different than Israel Luna using it in the movie trailer for TOTWK QueenzofMedia
@transadvocate ABSOLUTELY unreal that you would link this to the killing of people..UNREAL. you should be ashamed. QueenzofMedia

It wasn’t on a whim that I mentioned Zapata. She was on my mind front and center. Angie Zapata was an eighteen year old trans woman that was brutally beaten to death by Allen Ray Andrade. When he was arrested Andrade said he killed “it”.

Andrade told a Greeley police detective that he thought he “killed it,” referring to his alleged victim, a police affidavit said. – Denver Post

During the trail he said:

    “It’s not like I just went up to a school teacher and shot her in the head, you know what I mean? It’s not like I went up to a law-abiding straight citizen.”

A witness for the prosecution said of Andrade:

“The defendant’s use of the word ‘it’ to refer to the victim exemplified what we already know about hate crimes. He saw Angie Zapata as expendable, and he believed that she deserved to die,’ said Crystal Middlestadt, director of training and education at the Colorado Anti-Violence Program.” The Examiner

I’m not comparing what Andrade did to what Osbourne said. That would be absurd. But her bigoted language does contribute to a society that sees trans people as less than human. It may be a drop in the bucket, but it does matter. The bigotry that Andrade expressed is a bucket full of those drops. Osbourne’s words do contribute to the ongoing  dehumanization of trans people.

Her “chick with a dick” comment is highly offensive to the majority of trans women. It’s a term that is used in pornography and is closely related to she-male. GLAAD called the New York Post’s use of she-male as “a dehumanizing slur.” The phrase “chick with a dick”  and she-male were given birth mostly in the porn industry.

While Osbourne has apologized for the incident on Twitter, she has yet to make a public statement to the press. The press that is running story after story (1,2,3,4,5,6, and many more) of Osbourne’s offensive words but absolutely nothing about her apology. Until she apologizes publicly, her bigotry will continue to fan the flames of hatred. And many of her fans will see trans people as things to be mocked and be humiliated by. If she wants to be called an ally of the trans community, she needs to act like one.  And she needs to understand one thing…

words do matter.

Marti Abernathey
Marti Abernathey

Marti Abernathey is the founder of the Transadvocate and the previous managing editor.

Abernathey has worn many different hats, including that of podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist.

She’s been a part of various internet radio ventures such as TSR Live!, The T-Party, and The Radical Trannies, TransFM, and Sodium Pentathol Sunday.

As an advocate she’s previously been involved with the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance, Rock Indiana Campaign for Equality, and the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition. She’s taken vital roles as a grass roots community organizer in The Indianapolis Tax Day Protest (2003), The Indy Pride HRC Protest (2004), Transgender Day of Remembrance (2004), Indiana’s Witch Hunt (2005), and the Rally At The Statehouse (the largest ever GLBT protest in Indiana – 3/2005).

In 2008 she was a delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention and a member of Barack Obama’s LGBT Steering and Policy Committee.

  • I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well

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  • Shemale

    The term Shemale is a fun word.
    I like it.
    It describes the state of me to a T. (pun intended)

    God forbid that any trans woman has a desire to be sexual or worse yet has the nerve to preform in porn.
    And worse yet to ever be associated with those women who OWN that term.

    I am a shemale, a chick with a dick and there is nothing wrong with that!

  • I’m pretty sure that Kelly got your point. Some people are unaware that it was demeaning. I certainly wasn’t aware of it. I think you’ve educated everybody. Next topic.

  • kkk

  • Anonymous

    I think to some extent we have lost the plot here… I mean, to describe a woman with a penis as a woman with a penis isn’t the problem. The implication that women with penises are incapable of forming an emotional attachment, or unable to love men in a way that cis women are (though my own reflexive lesbianism generally disapproves of any straight relationship, if nothing else but on a jocular level) is what’s really problematic.

    It’s the framing of trans women as less woman than cis women that I find bothersome, and yes, that attitude, at its extreme, does kill people. Though I’d call the amount of women Janice Raymond managed to kill by contributing to an environment that denied them treatment far more impressive than Andrade could’ve ever hoped in terms of its ability to kill trans women.

  • Guest

    Kelly Osborne has never denied the humanity of the person her fiance cheated on her with. Andrade denied Angie Zapata’s humanity and personhood completely.

    These issues are completely seperate and it is offensive to Angie Zapata’s memory to confuse them. There are ways to draw attention to how Kelly Osborne needs to modify her vocabulary towards transgendered people without drawing completely unrelated hate crimes into it.

    Kelly Osborne has not murdered or advocated the murder of anyone, trans or cis.

    • Anonymous

      If you read what I wrote, you’d see I said they weren’t the same thing. But the very words that Kelly used ARE used every day to dehumanize trans women and that does CONTRIBUTE to people  seeing us that way.

    • When Kelly used her/him, she most certainly did deny the personhood of Elle Schneider.   

      And as any marginalized person can tell you and the history books will repeatedly show, words matter.   Once you start with the dehumanizing and disrespectful language,  the murders of the dehumanized people are sure to follow and can escalate to genocidal levels.  

  • Tsrydermonroe


  • Kat

    The phrase “chick with a dick”  and she-male were given birth mostly in the porn industry.

    The latter was fertilized by a trans-exterminationist lesbian and her acolytes.