Philly Web Series NSFW to Make Transphobic Debut

nsfw web series

Some of you may know that my second job here at Philly Mag is editor of the our A&E blog, Ticket, where I report on the city’s arts and culture goings-on. Yesterday local writers Marc Cantone and Robert Yula  sent an email asking me to attend the debut screening of their new web series, NSFW, which was created and filmed in town with a legion of Philly creatives. In short, it’s a comedic show that follows what happens behind the scenes of an adult website called American Internet. Here’s a quick synopsis from the show’s website:

At first glance, the offices of American Internet are just like any other modern workplace. Cubicles, copy machines, Coffee Mate creamers in the kitchen, phones ringing and keyboards clacking. But look closer and something is askew. On an average desk you’ll find a framed family portrait, a computer monitor adorned with Garfield stickers and post-it notes, and three makes of 12-inch dildos. In their weekly meetings they discuss market penetration in the same breath as double penetration. Welcome to the world of an adult internet company.

Sounds pretty funny, huh? I mean come on, the word “dildos” is always good for chuckle. But upon further inspection I came across another word that rubbed me in all the wrong places, one that’s been debated a lot recently (ahem, RuPaul): “tranny.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5Bhw1QHQ3A

The series’ first trailer features a scene where two actors stare at a poster for a made-up film called Tranny Hall, which shows a Woody Allen look-alike gazing into the eyes of a man wearing a wig and a skirt (screen capture up top.) More from the synopsis:

From the eccentric owner to the all-American mom next door, inter-office politics and love triangles to transsexual Woody Allen spoofs like ‘Tranny Hall’, and parodies of 80’s TV shows like ‘Squirter She Wrote’, American Internet is an office for a new era.

New era? Not yet, obviously. Look, I’m not the first person to say this, but clearly it hasn’t been drilled hard enough into the mainstream mindset: You cannot use the word tranny. I don’t care if you’re gay, lesbian, a drag queen, or someone trying to get a cheap laugh on a web series. The word is offensive. It’s vile, and it dehumanizes an entire community of people — much like the words “faggot” or “nigger.”

Your use of the word “tranny” perpetuates the idea that transgender people are jokes, that they don’t belong. It should be eliminated from our vocabulary. 

Before you debut your show next week to a roomful of people who may or may not know better, I suggest you do some last-minute editing. Strike that scene from your episode. Take the word “tranny” out of your synopsis. You have an opportunity here to open some eyes. Take it.

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