No trolls in the bingo halls, pls.
Dab down. (Photo: Getty Images / Boston Globe.)
“Like much of the language of queer diaspora, the history is murky and contexts often change, but the word as it exists today is specifically wielded against transgender people, and predominantly transgender women,” Liz tells PEDESTRIAN.TV.
“To me, the term ‘tranny’ means fear, it means a lack of safety. I see a sign for ‘tranny bingo’ on the way to work every day and feel a roll in my gut. I’ve only ever had it used at me, by people who have tried to hurt or discredit me.”
“I see it as a term used to point out and remind me that the person using it and society more widely sees me and other trans women as less human, as unnatural things, as undesirable,” adds Harriet.
“Bringing a more diverse audience to these events will help normalise drag as a legitimate form of performance art,” Harriet says.“However, when this is done with events using slurs in their names, this also normalises these slurs as acceptable words and contributes to a culture that disregards the pain caused and associated with the use of these slurs.”
Reclamation or Risqué?
NSF-ya nan (Photo: Getty Images / Rick Friedman.)
It’s one that others trans folk, dismisses their personal experiences, and erases their existence as legitimate people expressing their preferred gender.
“When drag queens are cis men who can take off their costume and go about their lives without risk of transmisogynistic violence, “reclaiming” slurs is often less of a big deal – they are less likely to have experienced the pain associated with being called a slur in an intentionally malicious way, or the violence that can accompany the verbal abuse,” Harriet says.“So they lack the understanding of the pain, while still understanding that it is a “controversial” word – so they use it to stand out and grab attention.”
Interestingly, searching ‘drag queen bingo’ on Instagram brings up countless popular bingo nights from across the world – all killing it as events without any use of transphobic slurs.
There’s one group – Sydney Drag Queens – that run drag queen bingo nights led by Miss Prada Clutch in a couple of selected venues in NSW, but the overwhelmingly popular events are those that use derogatory terms to draw punters in.