>What’s a Little Transphobia Among French?


You may or may not have heard that former Italian MP, Vladimir Luxuria, recently triumphed as the winner of the 2008 edition of the reality TV show, L’Isola dei Famosi (or “Celebrity Island,” sort of a cross between Survivor and The Surreal Life, except that it goes on FOREVER and is hosted by Simona Ventura, easily one of the most irritating presenters on Italian television [and that’s saying quite a lot]).

It was big news—at least to me—because I love me some Luxuria. She’s cool, she’s smart, she’s a big lefty, she talks about queer rights constantly in a country where the silence is deafening, and she calls out Fascists like Alessandra Mussolini wherever she finds ‘em.

So how come the Agence France-Presse (AFP), via the Google News newsfeed, published such a hateful article about Luxuria’s win? (See the full piece here: Italian Transvestite Ex-MP Triumphs as Reality TV Star.)

It’s fairly amazing, in fact, that in less than 200 words, the AFP article manages to deploy every trick in the transphobe’s book: referring to Luxuria throughout the article as “he” (though Luxuria has lived for a very long time as a woman); calling her a “transvestite” instead of transgendered or transsexual; and insisting that Luxuria’s “real” name is a male one.

Really. It’s impressive. Very 1960s.

It’s hard to know if the fault is the writer’s (the article isn’t signed) or the translator’s (assuming the article wasn’t originally written in English; if the translator did it, though, that was quite an act of revision!).

In any case, it’s obnoxious. Language counts – and if you remember the days (not so very long ago) when the New York Times refused to print the word “gay” – you know how much.

Shame on Google News (which, like virtually everything else connected to Google, is impossible to contact directly); shame on Agence France-Presse (whose website displays a generic contact form; we’ll see if they write back).

We’re in the third millennium, babies. It’s time to get with the program. If you’re not writing about our new “colored” president and our about-to-be “lady” secretary of state, figure it out: A tranny by any other name is no longer just as sweet.


Posted on 30 November 2008, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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