Actress Gabourey Sidibe was heard repeatedly using the transphobic slur “tranny” while she was discussing her life in New Orleans on “The Arsenio Hall Show.” She used the slur word no less than five times in just under one minute.
Sidibe was trying to point out the mistreatment that transgender people had to endure from the police in New Orleans and the rest of the country.
The Justice Department launched an investigation after studies found that transgender women of color were the victims of profiling and abuse by the police. In the study it was found that transgender people across the US experience three times as much police-violence as non-transgender individuals.
Even when the transgender people were the victims of hate crimes, 48 percent of them reported being mistreated by the police when they went for help.
As soon as the outrage started pouring in, Sidibe went to Twitter to try and assuage the anger:
“I’ve apologized several times for using the word “Tranny”. I don’t realize that it was a slur. I’m very sorry for my poor choice of words.“
A minute later she added:
“I’m also sorry for having made light of a bad situation. It was not my intention.”
The full transcript from the show reads:
Gabourey Sidibe: There was a bar that we would frequent and every time we’d go, when we were leaving every single time there was always like a gang of cops arresting trannies.
Sidibe: Specifically trannies.
Arsenio Hall: Yeah…
Sidibe: And I don’t know what goes on with trannies but that tranny on tranny crime needs to stop!
Arsenio Hall and audience: [Laughter]
Sidibe [chuckling]: It is tearing our nation apart!
Sidibe isn’t the first or the only star that has used the slur in public. Lance Bass, Kelly Osbourne and Neil Patrick Harris all used it and almost immediately made apologies (source).