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Gabourey Sidibe apologizes for repeatedly saying ‘tranny’ on ‘Arsenio’

Saturday, February 1, 2014
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Actress Gabourey Sidibe is apologizing after coming under fire for repeatedly used a transphobic slur during a recent appearance on the “The Arsenio Hall Show,” saying she was unaware that it was a slur.

In a discussion about life in New Orleans, where Sidibe resides, the “American Horror Story: Coven” star said the word “tranny” no less than five times in under a minute when she appeared on the show on January 23, reported The Huffington Post.

Sidibe said there’s a bar she frequents and that “every time we’d go, when we were leaving every single time there was always like a gang of cops arresting trannies.”

“I don’t know what goes on with trannies but that tranny on tranny crime needs to stop!” she said, to laughter from Hall and the audience.

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The remarks drew a stern scolding from Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

“Using the word ‘tranny’ isn’t OK anymore. Using it to make fun of people is definitely not OK. And using it to make fun of any kind of violence is just plain wrong,” Keisling told the Huffington Post.

“I know she meant it in fun but that’s the problem in this case. It’s not just that she used the word ‘tranny’ but that she’s making fun of violence in a city where the police have a history of committing violence and discrimination against trans women of color. It’s the kind of thing that trans people listen to and say, ‘This is someone who is not thinking about our lives. This is someone who is making fun of our problems,’” said Keisling.

Allyson Robinson, a transgender human rights activist and U.S. Army veteran, echoed Keisling’s sentiments in an email to The Huffington Post.

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“It’s tremendously disappointing to see Sidibe put her prejudice so callously on display like this,” Robinson wrote. “If she isn’t aware of the poverty, violence, unjust detention, and inhuman incarceration trans women (and especially trans women of color) face, it’s time she educated herself.

On Saturday, Sidibe tweeted that she didn’t realize “tranny” was a slur. “I’m very sorry for my poor choice of words.”

“I’m also sorry for having made light of a bad situation. It was not my intention,” she added.

“The Arsenio Hall Show” did not immediately responded to requests for comment.

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