A Preston tattoo and piercing parlour has come under fire from some of the student body for a joke they used on an A-frame chalk board outside their store. The sign, which can be seen above, reads “If a ginger person dyes their hair, does it make them transginger?”. This has stoked controversy for some, with allegations of transphobia from the store’s staff being made.
Skye Bagshawe, third year Psychology with Psychotherapy and Counselling , expressed her concerns to Pulse News:
“It is blatantly transphobic, as if the non-cis identifying population were not discriminated or marginalised enough already. It’s not even a hairdressers which may give the sign some context and relevance (even then it would be an intolerant sign) but a tattoo and piercing parlour.
“A joke? Some people’s rebuttal to my concerns have stated that it is a light hearted joke, a pun and that I am being over-sensitive, over- reacting or misinterpreting it. I refute this argument because even as a joke it is in bad taste about innate personal characteristics, such as ginger hair and gender dysphoria. When did it become acceptable to mock people’s hair colour? How is it funny? ”
“However, it isn’t. I am aware that the word “trans,” can linguistically mean “to transition or change.” But when I spoke to the man who wrote the sign himself brought up transgender issues and suggested that it was a harmless joke and that it would encourage people with gender identity issues into the shop because they’d feel accepted. He said Studio 81 has the largest clientele of transgender people of any tattoo parlour and he stated “And it’s because of signs like that.” “
Bagshawe then revealed that one of the tattoo artists at the parlour posted on the social media photo sharing site Instagram, requesting that if she was genuinely offended, she should write to:
Someone today had a real issue with our sign, but couldn’t tell me why exactly she was offended. Trans is a prefix for transition or change, so this clever play on words is just what it is. A joke. If you are genuinely offended by this sign please write a complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org
Continuing in the comments, user @raine_in_nugz added:
“[S]he had enough grease in her hair to fry chips and I can’t even describe the pyjamas she was wearing”
Renaye Roberts-Sinclair, UCLan Students’ Union Campaigns Officer said,
“This comment strikes to me as being distasteful and simplifies issues about gender identity to hair colour. Trans people often live complex lives and personal issues can’t be solved simply by walking into a drug store and buying a hair product.
“You only have to look at the alarming low life expectancies of trans women due to suicide to understand this point of view. The author of this joke clearly has limited understanding about issues that trans people face.
“While this joke may not directly incite hatred towards the trans community, it certainly doesn’t help further society’s knowledge about non-binary and/or trans identities. However as a person who was born a woman and still identifies as such, it not my place to say whether or not this joke will have negative impact on trans people”
UCLan SU Transgender Students’ Representative Ollie Nield said,
“I can see why people would be offended, however on a personal level I don’t believe it was meant to be derogatory, and I actually find it quite humorous”
“When I see people being oppressed, I feel that it is my duty to speak up. To me it isn’t important what the identity of the aggressor or the oppressed is. Wrong is wrong. I speak out whether it is a minority being oppressed or oppressive or part of the majority – the so called ‘privileged’ – being oppressed or oppressive.
“If we argue that minorities need to be acknowledged as historically hate crimes have largely been ignored, but then when a person deemed to be part of the majority or privileged is discriminated against. If we ignore it as it is on a minor level or doesn’t have historical context, are we being hypocritical?
“If we ignore minorities we see it as ignorant, when part of the majority raises an objection they get discredited but that is a similar problem except its not ignoring a minority group but a minority of incidents. The more we ignore the more likely we are creating a problem.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right so just because of the historical context of oppression it does not give a minority the right to try to get revenge against one of the majority, and it does not mean the majority does not have the right to an opinion as that is just censorship which is abusive.”
Do you think the sign is transphobic? Let us know by leaving a comment or @PulseMediaUCLan