Following his use of the word “tr*nny” and an impression of a transgender person on Live With Kelly!, actor Neil Patrick Harris has apologized for his comments on Twitter, saying, “Truly sorry for saying the word 'tranny' on Live this week. Twice! Should have been more thoughtful. Didn't at all mean to offend.”
It’s heartening to see a celebrity of Harris’ stature recognize and apologize for using the slur in such a timely manner, and for greater media attention being paid to its use. Many people do not realize that the word "tr*nny" is one of the most hurtful and dehumanizing slurs that transgender people hear. Most transgender people associate that word with personal experiences of violence, hatred and derision.
GLAAD is reaching out to Mr. Harris about the incident.
With this coming soon after the casting of Chaz Bono on Dancing With the Stars, Kelly Osborne's heartfelt apology, and the widespread coverage we saw for this year's Transgender Day of Rememberance, it really feels like we could be at a turning point in the way our nation and even our community (LGBT people and allies) understand the struggles and lives of our transgender friends, neighbors and family members.
Many people - even within the LGBT and allied community - don't have firsthand experience speaking with everyday transgender people about the challenges they face, the way they feel they are viewed by society, and the way they'd like to be treated. Neil Patrick Harris is an incredible force for LGBT inclusion and equality. He stars on one of the most popular shows in the country, he's an immensely talented and charismatic individual, and he's an excellent family man to boot.
We hope that others who might not see this as a "big deal" will take the opportunity to rethink the way they approach the transgender community.