by Drew Adams
Something I’ve noticed a great deal of lately is an increase in the use of slurs- the F-slur and T-slur specifically, and a little bit of controversy surrounding them. A lot of trans folks, and I’ve noticed this more with trans masculine guys as of late, have been reclaiming the T-slur and calling themselves- and others- by it. As anyone who knows me from social media or from this blog knows, I enjoy unpacking controversies from within the queer community, so I’m gonna talk about this.
First of all, straight people cannot say the F-slur (f*ggot), and cisgender people cannot say the T-slur (tr*nny). That’s an easy one to understand.
If you are not straight, you can call yourself the F-slur if you want. I know plenty of queer people who call themselves that, and that is okay. If you are trans, you can call yourself the T-slur if you want. I know plenty of trans folks who call themselves that, and that is perfectly fine. Self identification with a slur in efforts to reclaim it are very much okay.
Where I’m seeing controversy is when trans and queer people who self-identify with those words call other people those words as well.
For example, a trans person calls another trans person or group of trans people the T-slur.
Unless whoever they are referring to has EXPLICITLY given them permission to call them that, the trans person should not call someone else that word. Same thing applies to the F-slur.
These words are slurs. A large amount of people want to reclaim the slurs by using them a lot, and that’s okay. Self identify using those words all you want. But there are a lot of people who just aren’t comfortable with those slurs yet, and that’s okay too.
So the bottom line is:
Calling yourself a slur is okay if you’re in the community of that slur.
Calling others in the community that slur is not okay (unless they have explicit permission.)
About the Author:
Drew Adams is a transgender high school senior from Ponte Vedra, FL, who is committed to LGBTQ advocacy at the local and national levels. He serves as his high school GSA’s president and raises money for Northeast Florida’s LGBTQ youth outreach, JASMYN, to which he also donates food, toiletries and school supplies. Nationally, Drew serves as a youth ambassador and advocacy volunteer for The Trevor Project, a youth social media ambassador for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and a Volunteer and Intern Coordinator for Point of Pride. On the legislative side, Drew lobbies for the Equality Act by visiting with his Congressional representatives and their staff.
Additionally, Drew has spent years fighting to change his school district’s bathroom policy to be trans-inclusive, and the fight is still ongoing. Drew is an International Baccalaureate student and a volunteer at the Mayo Clinic, and he hopes to go to medical school and become an adolescent psychiatrist specializing in transgender health. For fun, he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creates sculpture art and plays the piano.