“Transphobia by Proxy” – Definition – “TBP” – Trans Currency – Def
A term coined by S. Johnson at TransgenderZone.com to describe the way Transgender people (in particular) are abused by society and television comedy by the use of a ‘proxy person’ to act as a buffer.
An example would be a panel show host or comic, calling a non-transperson a ‘tranny’ and getting a laugh.
Especially when there is no transgender person present at the time – more serious!
As the person they are abusing is not trans, it is hoped this deflects the transphobia argument.
However, as this increases, it is at risk of becoming a trend to protect comedians from being labeled transphobic.
The argument transgender zone use is, would it be acceptable to call a white person a racially offensive word normally targeted at the Black community – the ‘N-WORD’ for example. And then saying, “it is not racist because he is not black!”
The intent is still there regardless of the proxy (the person).
Another example would be joking that a female colleague has a penis, and getting comedic currency from this when in reality she does not have a penis.
We are, however more than aware there are many women with penises walking around. This is therefore objectifying and ‘othering’ via a proxy of a non-transperson.
The immediate thought of those listening to the comment, and we have many examples where the reactions to these comments are facial expressions of those around the person being described as transgender (when they are not), is pity, being embarrassed and responding, “How dare you I am not transgender!” Laughter or simply, “EWWWW! GROSS! He called you transgender!”
The final example sadly is Drag. Many Drag Artists use their alter-egos as proxies for transphobia when they are often not transgender themselves. Calling themselves an ‘OLD TRANNY’ or calling people in the audience a ‘Ladyboy’, when the person watching the show is not trans in the slightest is transphobia by proxy – it is used to embarrass them.
This is a serious problem that is getting worse as more pressure is put upon the media to stop being transphobic, they are now using these ‘work-arounds’ to bypass the ‘rules’ so they can continue to get laughs and exploit the transgender community.