So, I’ve got a few thoughts on this and I’m gonna break this down as best I can.
Right, before we begin I feel I need to address the issue that I may have said something offensive to the transgender community in last week’s video.
Okeedokee, do not start off apologies with, “I may have said something offensive.” People were offended. You are apologizing. Clearly by apologizing you are acknowledging that offense. The claim that you “may” have said something offensive is just a plain old half-assed cop-out.
For a while I was confused over what, specifically, was causing offense. ‘Cos some people said it was the image shown in the video thumbnail of the booth from Papers, Please with a sign over it saying “No trannies”. But that was a reference to the game mechanics - you are literally required to turn away people who look like one gender when their passport says another, because you work for an evil and very politically incorrect dictatorship. The image was taken out of context.
When I was made aware of the image, I knew the context. Yes, the dictatorship for whom you work is transphobic. However, there is not a literal sign on your little video game hut that says “no trannies”. It was Yahtzee who brought the slur into things.
Here’s the thing, there’s not actually a scenario where I’m ever comfortable seeing a cis person use that word. Because, cis people, you don’t need to use that word. Ever.
It’s a slur, used by cis people against trans people, so cis people you don’t get to use it. Even as a background joke about a fiction dictatorship.
I appreciate that ‘trannies’ is a pejorative word, but I hasten to reiterate that it was written on a sign erected by a fictional evil dictatorship. I am hopeful that this world is not so mindlessly knee-jerk that one is condemned solely for the utterance of a Forbidden Word, regardless of context or intent, because I don’t see how that helps. It’s like forcing a public figure to resign because they used the word ‘niggardly’.
A few things about this.
One: You should not equate the usage of a non-slur with the usage of an actual slur. As Yahtzee himself acknowledges in the footnotes, that word is derived from a Norse term, and means stingy or miserly. Bringing a non-slur into the discussion about an actual slur is intellectually dishonest.
Two: There have in fact been racist uses of the word he brings up, specifically because it sounds like the obvious slur. It was used in one such instance in an anti-Obama billboard. So, you know, if you’re going to complain about context I would guess that would be an important bit, not that I expect Yahtzee is aware.
Yahtzee subsequently says he regrets the comment about sucking off “pre-op transsexuals” being gay. He “apologizes for his lazy wording” and honestly even that is a cop-out. Because it wasn’t just lazy wording. His depiction of a “pre-op transsexual” was a caricature I’m all too used to seeing.
He replaced the line with “I’m not gay I only suck of pantomime dames” and honestly that’s not really a whole lot better, but he doesn’t use the word transsexuals so most people are going to let it slide, even though he uses the same visual caricature.
So, we called out transphobia and got two cop-out apologies for the price of one and a half-assed fix.