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Students Defend UChicago, Savage over Use of the Word ‘Tranny’



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A handful of University of Chicago students are pushing back against LGBT campus groups demanding that the university’s Institute of Politics apologize for author Dan Savage’s use of the term “tranny.”

During a seminar last month, the controversial Savage urged the LGBT community to reclaim the word and eliminate the stigma associated with it. Savage’s use of the “t-slur” upset some LGBT members in the audience, and led to a petition calling on the IOP to “denounce and prohibit the use of transphobic slurs at UChicago’s Institute of Politics events.”

Twelve students penned a letter for the campus newspaper, the Chicago Maroon, standing by the IOP. They chronicle the IOP’s efforts to meet with and discuss the matter with students the following day and note that the event’s moderator, Guardian columnist Ana Marie Cox, even offered to meet with offended or troubled students.

The students emphasize their support for the IOP because it “strives to represent a variety of viewpoints from across the political spectrum.”

Meanwhile, in an op-ed also published in the Maroon, student Anastasia Golovashkina, who was present at the seminar, says the petition’s authors “suggest a troubling lack of integrity about the campaign they have carried out.”

While she praises the campus’s various other LGBT groups, she criticizes their “disingenuous” portrayal of the event. She notes that the petition has been modified multiple times, but fails to notify signees of the changes.

Golovashkina adds that controversial, uncomfortable topics come with the territory when inviting Savage to speak. Ultimately, she says the outcry over the incident was “unfortunate, questionable, and destructive,” and she and others are now intimidated by discussing such issues for fear of “being branded transphobic.”



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