Bil Browning

Ru Paul's Makeup Motivations [Comment of the Week]

Filed By Bil Browning | January 22, 2012 8:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living
Tags: is tranny a slur, Ru Paul, trannie, tranny

Over on Becky Juro's post, "You Don't Get to Tell Us When to Be Offended, Ru Paul," she added an addendum in the comments section that posits an interesting theory. Talking about Ru Paul's defense of the word "tranny" originally, Thumbnail image for rupaul.jpegBecky goes beyond the original post to explore whether or not Ru Paul has a vested interest in keeping the term alive.

Rebecca Juro ยท North Brunswick, New Jersey
Interestingly, I was discussing this on my show last night (sorry about the lousy sound for those who were tuned in...we're working on having that fixed by our next live show in 2 weeks) with Rye Seronie, who is a drag queen himself and a frequent guest on the show. He pointed out something which I hadn't considered: Ru Paul has a vested monetary interest in the word "tranny" not being considered a slur. For example, one of his (apparently) most well-known singles is a song called "Tranny Chaser". He's also reported to have used "trannylicious" as a descriptor about himself and it's been used by others to describe him.

So, if the word "tranny" were to become universally accepted as a slur against trans people in the same way as the N-word has in regard to African-Americans, it could cut into his income. Based on how Ru Paul describes his motivations for doing drag (ch-ching) I think it's highly likely that Ru Paul isn't getting on any high moral or philosophical horse because of strongly held beliefs about word usage, he's simply protecting his own income.

I think the reaction is more visceral than financial. If the term is accepted as a slur, his past performances will be judged as a minstrel act and antiquated. It'll mark him as a relic of an unenlightened past and the history he has built up and invested in "Ru Paul" will be judged harshly. Who wants that? That is Ru Paul RuPaul Andre Charles' motivation.

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