After recently being called out for her unabashedly cissexist, transphobic rant about the trans woman with whom her former fiancé cheated on her with, a November 18 press release from GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) announced that Kelly Osbourne has now published an apology to the trans community for her words. Kelly writes:
“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.”
Kelly goes on to acknowledge the recently passed Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR).
While this apology for using the word “tranny” and acknowledging TDoR are definitely steps in the right direction, I want to emphasize that these things still do not address the core problem with what Osbourne said in the first place. What Osbourne stated was that she found it particularly offensive and humiliating that her former lover cheated on her with a trans woman. As I stated previously, if Osbourne had said she was particularly humiliated to tell her parents that her boyfriend cheated on her with a woman of color, wouldn’t we describe those words as racist? So how do we describe it when she says that she was humiliated in particular that her fiancé cheated on her with a trans woman?
To illustrate the point, consider this: if we replace all of the “offensive phrasings” in Osbourne’s original statements with non-derogatory phrasings, does the statement become significantly more palatable?
“Having to tell them (my parents) my fiance had cheated on me with a trans woman who sold her story to the press (was the most uncomfortable moment). It was so humiliating,”
“It’s hard enough to get your head around someone cheating on you, but when someone is a trans woman? Up until then, I’d always thought that the worst way to get cheated on would be with an ugly girl. Don’t you think?… Because at least if they cheat on you with a gorgeous girl it makes some kind of sense.”
Is this really a dramatic improvement? After reading Osbourne’s apology, from my perspective, the issue remains unresolved.
The fact that even some of the coverage of the apology has contained transphobia is not exactly a heartening sign either.