All right, I realize that an episode of Glee that's about Rocky Horror is not really the most important front in the fight for LGBTQ rights, but this was just bizarre. In tonight's episode of Glee, “The Rocky Horror Glee Show”, the cast performs Rocky Horror as the school musical. At first, I was delighted to see such a queer musical picked, though I was skeptical about them being able to pull it off on a prime-time broadcast. I wasn't thrilled when one student protested wearing a costume that “made him look like a tranny”, but given that half the cast is traditionally referred to that way, it wasn't as offensive as it might have been in another context.
This changed rather dramatically when they got to “Sweet Transvestite”. Mercedes (Amber Riley) sings it, which is fine — but she declares herself to be a “sweet transvestite/ From Sensational Transylvania”.
The hell? The line, of course, is “from Transsexual Transylvania”. I cannot understand what was going through the heads of the makers of Glee – apparently, “transvestite” and even “tranny” are acceptable, provided they're used pejoratively, but “transsexual” can't be said on TV. The only reading I've managed of this is that actual trans folks are sooooo scary and sooooo weird that they can't even be referred to directly on air. I hope I'm wrong, and that Glee didn't just go crazy-trans-invisibilizing on us, but I can't see any other way to interpret it.
So, as a sensational woman, I'm a bit concerned.