End of Poverty (Original)

from by Tomboyfriend

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*** Important Note to Tomboyfriend Fans on the re-release of the song "End of Poverty."

This, one of our most recognizable songs, includes one term I am no longer comfortable with; nor would I want to encourage other people using, except those who have the right to reclaim this term, the community it addresses and effects. The word is an oft-used derogatory term for a trans person. I won't underline the term by re-using it but you can hear it in the song.

For years, its use in the song had been justified in my mind because, one, it was a true line quoted from a trans man who identified themselves to me as this word at a party, long ago (facetiously, of course)--and it was charming and funny and ferocious and it is this very trans man I am characterizing in that verse; and, two, I was of the mind that this word was re-appropriation of the "queer" bent, a reclaiming that rendered it's former meaning clawless. What seemed a euphoric moment for the queer community, arts communities, trans community--so many communities of what would come to be called "Torontotopia"--in the early aughts did not manifest as I would have hoped and, in my brighter moments, earnestly believed. Far from the term in question becoming clawless, it continues to be a word used to degrade and shame. As I am not trans, and the moment of liberation that felt immanent then has yet to truly manifest, I would not use this term now.

At the time, I expected even immanent economic revolution, I was hot-headed, optimistic and lacking in foresight--i.e. young. This song was an unbroken stream of lyrical joy for me, from beginning to end, and I loved everyone I was singing about. The song, more than any other of my songs, was a pure expression of love for me, warts and all. Even the peppery language was an expression of love to me. That remains unchanged.

This vocals on this track can never be re-recorded. I was unschooled and lacked resources at the time, I paid someone to quickly record and master this, the original tracks no longer exist. I have seriously considered bleeping out the second or two of air time those words occupy. But the ghost of silence would only further underline what had been said.

So I have kept this song unaltered with this footnote now indelibly attached. Had I known the future, I might have written the lyric in this way, with no verve lost "And the Trans Man . . . at the Saloooon." Should I ever perform this song again publicly, that is likely what I will sing.The use of this word may be an issue to you and it may not be--our sense of propriety and lenience around language is different from person to person and the context in which it is spoken--but I am not willing to arm an oppressor or add to the gloom and shittiness of the conditions of those still fighting for basic recognition and basic rights. Quite genuinely, if this song ever comes to occupy a place of hate and pain for the trans community I will quickly and willingly suppress it. I say this preemptively--because no one has ever identified this song to me as such. But I am making this call. I hope, however, by putting the usage of this word in its time and context, this song can continue to be a relic of another time with bigger hopes, and the portrait of different communities striving for one thing, that this be read with the love for those communities with which it was originally intended.

- R.K.


from TOMBOYFRIEND - Best Of 2002​-​2012, released May 18, 2017



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