‘Tranny Granny’ Walmart Halloween Costumes Incite LGBTI Community

A Walmart Halloween costume offered on the company’s website under the name “tranny granny” is turning heads in the LGBT community. Enough so, in fact, that it appears to have been taken down as of Tuesday.

UPDATE: Walmart has apologized for the Halloween costume in a statement to LGBTQNation.

“This was a third party Marketplace item. While it’s listed on other sites, it clearly violates our policy and was quickly removed once we were notified. We’re appalled this seller put it on our site to begin with.”

While Walmart itself did not create or directly stock the costume according to Pink News, its appearance on the company’s website, along with the divisive name will indicate a sort of tacit approval of the word “tranny” to many. It’s an assumed stance unlikely to win them any support from the transgender community, where the slur has been rallied against for demeaning trans men and women — especially in recent years as trans people have gained more visibility.

Not that you can really cast all the blame on Walmart or any other involved party for originating the term “tranny granny” with this Halloween costume. A Twitter search reveals that it’s actually been used dozens of times just within the last month. It even has several proposed definitions on Urban Dictionary, the highest voted of which is “Old Men (preferably over 50) engaged in sexual activity dressed up as Old Lady’s [sic].”

Though Walmart is no doubt about to face an uphill PR battle over the costume, they may have taken note of what happened last Halloween when another company, Spirit, was at the center of the season’s great transphobic debacle — a Caitlyn Jenner costume.

To calm that media firestorm, Spirit Halloween told The New York Daily News that the “Call Me Cait” costume was meant to honor the newly public trans woman, but it seems impossible for Walmart or anyone else involved to come up with a noble justification for “tranny granny.”

“Of course! Caitlyn Jenner has proven to be the most important real-life superhero of the year, and Spirit Halloween is proud to carry the costume that celebrates her.”

Walmart stocking the controversial Halloween costume is hardly the frontier for debate about the use of the term “tranny.” Even within the LGBT community, non-gender conforming individuals from drag queens to transsexuals have claimed ownership of the term. Popular reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race briefly became the center of this debacle when the Emmy-winning host refused to apologize for her use of words like “tranny” and “shemale” on the show, despite calls from transgender individuals for her to stop. A Slate column at the time briefly explained the controversy behind the term.

“Tranny and words like it have long been used within the queer world, among many transgender people and especially in the drag subculture, as signs of appreciation or friendship, much in the same way that some African Americans employ the word ni**er. While tranny can also certainly be used as a slur (outsiders should not use it for this reason), it is the kind of term that has been claimed by many as a celebration of their own queerness, an indication of their intention to futz with our society’s deeply ingrained gender binary. Other trans people, though, have always found the term derogatory, rejecting it out of hand.”

Could Walmart have avoided the Halloween costume blowout with a name other than “tranny granny”?

[Featured Image by Walmart]