Standing in the Light
November 15, 2011
Revealing Family Secrets
November 28, 2011

Kelly Osbourne: I Support the Transgender Community

Editor’s note: The following guest post is from Kelly Osbourne. Osbourne is a television personality and musician. Osbourne and I discussed on Twitter about her use of the phrase “chick with a dick” and “tranny” in a public interview.
With this post Kelly has proven she is a responsible ally to the transgender community. She made a mistake that was borne of ignorance, not malice. This post is will go far in healing that mistake. It will also serve to educate and inform others within the LGBT community and beyond about transgender people’s lives. As I said to Kelly on Twitter, “You get to speak about it [the mistake], and trans people are seen as people and not things. Besides hatred, who’s the loser in this?” I’m grateful to Kelly for taking the time to learn and to educate others. In the process she’s turned a mistake into a teachable moment. That is what an ally does.

"Casanova" UK Premiere - Arrivals

I’d first like to make it clear that no one asked me to write this.  After reaching out to GLAAD for advice and clarification, I thought it was imperative to explain and amend my wrong. I gained a lot of knowledge, and I now feel the urgency to speak out and teach others. As unfortunate as this incident was, I assure you it was taken out of context, but I cannot deny the words; they did come out of my mouth.

As a lifelong LGBT ally and friend, I feel it is my duty to not only apologize for my wrong but to also correct it. The word “tr*nny” is a derogatory and hurtful word. I was completely ignorant to this and soon came to realize most of my peers and LGBT friends are too. This is a word I will no longer use or allow. It wasn’t until I googled it after speaking with GLAAD that I found out just how unbelievably offensive it was.  When friends jokingly called me that in the past, I took it as a compliment or a joke, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Transgender people are some of the bravest people on Earth and among the LGBT community. I cannot imagine the courage it takes to live your life openly and honestly, reflecting who you truly are, or the hurt that comes from having to hide who you are because others may not support and accept you.  Due to the fact that it is Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, I would like to raise awareness to this injustice in society. It is a day to remember those who have lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence and speak out against the fact that transgender people face disproportionate amounts of discrimination and harassment every day. The lack of knowledge about transgender people contributes to the unparalleled number of violent acts against them every day.

A part of me is happy I’ve made such an awful mistake because I can now use this as a platform to help speak out against the use of such hurtful and dehumanizing words. With your assistance and support, we can get this word out of television/media.  It is still being used today; I’ve seen it four times in the past week.

My sincerest apologies to any ally or member of the LGBT community whom I have hurt or offended.  That kind of representation goes against everything I stand for and is the last thing I would ever want to do. I would also like to thank The Transadvocate for educating me and bringing this to my attention. Nobody can tell you whom to love or what gender to be.  That is your basic human right, and certainly nobody has the right to discriminate against you for who you truly are!

co-posted at GLAAD’s blog

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  • Just find some good info from here. Really I was looking forward to read about it. I’m totally appreciated you Kelly. Thanks for this allocation. 🙂

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  • Boyd Kodak

    Please Come… boydkod@cia.com

  • Boyd Kodak

    Plese come…

  • I’m a female with a long orgasmitalia… yup, I have one…
    I’m a Paramesonephroductilian Sexed Female, my Wolffian (Penile) Sex came about as my Mesonephroductilian (Vaginal) half of my ‘baby body’ was inhibited… so what? I am still fully genetically Müllerian-Wolffian endowed like every human on this planet, no exceptions.
    Do Mesonephroductilian Sexed Females have long orgasmitalia too (sure, long clitorises exist too, even bigger than some Wolffian Males!!!)… ahhhh, variety is the spice of life, whether one is sexed Müllerian or sexed Wolffian, be one a female, or a male. 21st Century ‘lingo’ for an enlightened generation… I will repeat it till y’all ‘get it’… 😀
    Müllerian or Wolffian or BOTH? (Answer: all humans have both)
    http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HowTheBodyWorks/SexDevelopmentAnOverview/SexualDifferentiation/Pages/DuctDifferentiation.aspx
    BGI=Brain Gender Identity… I am FEMALE (BGI), period.

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  • This is a big step in the right direction and I sincerely thank you for your words here, Kelly.  However, it has to be emphasized that the phrasings used (“tranny” and “chick with a dick”) only address the problem at a superficial level.

    The real problem with what you initially said is that you took particular offense that your fiancé would cheat on you with a trans woman.  What this implies is that, as a cis woman, you believe all trans women are beneath you.  That’s the real problem.

    Of course it’s hurtful that someone you cared about cheated on you.  I think all of us would be hurt by that.  But if you claim to be a trans ally, then the fact that he cheated on you with a trans woman in particular shouldn’t make any difference in the situation.

    That having been said, removing these phrasings from your vocabulary is a significant step in the right direction and I applaud that.

  • Boyd Kodak

    Hi Kelly,
    Good on you for making amends. To learn and grow is the only way. I see from the post’s there is more to recognise than just the use of the word tranny, but I truly appreciate your reaching out and wish more people would follow your lead.
    Our community sadly lost 213 people this year due to transphobia. violence, hatred… just not acceptable. My name is Boyd Kodak, I have spent 13 years as a leading activist in the communty, asking for acknowlegdement, acceptance and understanding, and apprecaite all efforts in that regard.
    I am recieving a lifetime acheivement award for work I’ve done as a trans activist, and prior for setting a precident named in the human rights code, when I lived as a lesbian.
    I would love to talk to you, and would be delighted if you would come to the gala awards presentation and reception in Toronto on December 14, 2011. Best,

  • Purity Vendetta

    Fuck off Kelly….
    You think this garbled excuse written for you by your PA is really going to placate anyone with half a brain? You are and always will be a phobic delusional, immature and over privileged bigot.
    No amount of grovelling will ever get you off the hook. You are clearly a deeply inadequate obese and vitriolic little girl who has built a career out of being the daughter of the pantomime dame of heavy rock. Maybe I could hold the pretext of you qualifying as a member of the human race if you put your money where your moth is an give me the £30,000 pounds I need for my surgery but you’d only want to milk the publicity.
    Our lives are hard enough without the vitriolic drivel you spew out. When was the last time you didn’t have the money for food (never happened judging by your ample errrr figure)
    You were born with everything, some of us have to fight for everything. That’s what makes us better people than you.

    • Anonymous

      I’m removing this comment due to a lack of civility. You could say the same thing without being offensive.

  • Dcherubini

    It wasn’t the word Tranny that offended me or many of my trans friends. It was when Kelly said that Transexuals have sex without emotion or meaningless sex.  I am paraphrasing here but you can go back to the article for her exact wording. I am glad she is apologizing but she is dodging the real offense and trivializing what she did by saying her words were taken out of context and that the main offense was an ignorant use of the word Tranny. THAT was not the issue! She made it very clear that she felt it was disgusting for her ex to have slept with a trans person because transexual sex is sex without emotion.

  • Sarah

    I like that you’ve thought about this, Kelly.  Thinking and learning, and then understanding, is the simplest but most important thing anyone can do.  Sharing what you’ve learnt is the next most important thing!  Thank you 🙂

  • MJ Aponte

    Just….WOW! This is how you do it when somebody tells you that something you said hurt them. Listen, learn, truly apologize, and love. I salute you Ms. Osbourne! 
    There is more you could learn by reading the comments here, but you’ve clearly learned so much already when you didn’t necessarily have to. Thank you, and I’m sorry it was a transperson who helped your boyfriend cheat on you. Just like celebrities, transpeople aren’t all perfect either. Thanks for showing us you are capable of better!

  • Thank you, Kelly. I respect you very much for your commentary and apology. I hate it when celebrities try to deflect blame and claim that it was only a misunderstanding or that their hurtful words were “taken out of context” or “just a joke”. Thank you for taking responsibility for your comments and acknowledging that they were unacceptable, hateful, hurtful to the LGBT community. Not that it matters to anyone else but me, but as a Trans-man, I accept your apology.

    • Zee

      It’s funny that you should mention this since she says in this very post that her words were taken out of context.

  • Alexander

    Well written post, and I thank Kelly for taking the time to learn about terminology and the impact it can have on people. It’s not always easy to admit a mistake, but she has done so with humility and grace. This is what a true ally looks like.

  • I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who admits their errors – we ALL make them.  To do so in such a public – and in fact educating – way is above and beyond.  Good for you, Ms. Osbourne, and thank you!

  • Kynniginsu

    Kelly.  I appreciate your effort and you seem sincere in your amends.  However, for me personally and probably for a lot of other trans people it wasn’t the word “tranny” itself, or even the phrase “chick with a dick”, that I found offensive.  It was the fact that you indicated, in no uncertain terms, that what made your ex-boyfriends indiscretion most offensive was the fact that the object of his lust was a trans person, as if trans people (and “ugly” people to whom you compared them) are something less and the fact that his choosing a trans person over you was what added insult to injury.  That sentiment was absolutely dehumanizing and it’s that sentiment that makes the word “tranny” in the context you used it so offensive.  

    • Nycii V

      Kynniginsu,

                               I understand what you’re saying, but must speak out for myself (and many of my trans friends).  The word “tranny” is horrendous and we HIGHLY dislike it…and “chick with a dick” is even more offensive.  There are enough labels being tossed around in today’s world, and these are two labels that I do not appreciate being used in regards to myself. 

      Nycii

    • Anonymous

      My thoughts exactly. It wasn’t the word, it was the expression of mortification at having been cheated on with a trans woman. The word, like all words, relies on context. I’ve seen Patton Oswalt use it successfully, but again, it’s like juggling with lit dynamite.

      And by the way, apology gladly accepted.

  • Ginasf

    We all make mistakes and hopefully we learn and grow from them. A mature, thoughtful response Kelly and I, as a trans woman, appreciate that you took the time to do it.

  • Kathleen

    Nice. She stepped up to the plate here.

    Hey – she didn’t even ask for money;  like some people I could name.

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