The Sexist

Dan Brown Adds “Transgendering” to the Lexicon


Yesterday, CBS CBC News reporter Sarah Liss spent 12 hours of her life reading The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown's 509-page sequel to The Da Vinci Code. Only 45 minutes in, Liss comes across this Brown gem:

The act of tattooing one’s skin was a transformative declaration of power, an announcement to the world: I am in control of my own flesh. The intoxicating feeling of control derived from physical transformation had addicted millions to flesh-altering practices …. . . cosmetic surgery, body piercing, bodybuilding, and steroids . . . even bulimia and transgendering.

"Ugh," writes Liss. "Sometimes, Dan Brown, loosely adapting Anthropology 101 texts for fiction just doesn’t work. Also, why do I get the sense you’ve never been tattooed—or met a gender-variant person? Also: 'transgendering' is not a verb."

Allow me to join in here: Fucking Dan Brown.

No, it's not enough for him to casually and unnecessarily refer to transgender people as "addicts." Too subtle. He must also lump them in with a laundry list of other "flesh-altering" sorts—Barry Bonds, people who suffer from life-threatening eating disorders, and dudes with tribal calf tattoos—then top it all off with an offensive make-believe word . . . which millions of people will surely read. God damnit! Fine: Just add it to the dictionary now. But please, don't make Tom Hanks grow his hair out again. I'm begging you.

  • recursiveparadox

    Seriously, fuck Dan Brown. He's a shitty author and he's a cissexist.

    Don't read his books, they suck. The movies are slightly more livable, but after this idiocy? I'm going to speak with my money and not give it to him and his.

  • Michelle

    One minor editorial correction: Sarah Liss works for CBC, not CBS.

  • Amanda Hess

    Thanks Michelle, I've corrected the post.

  • benjamin

    actually it's not a noun.
    but i know what you mean.

  • robert

    dan brown sucks, and is doing just as much (or more) as j.k. rowling to destroy 21t century literature.

  • don

    So what if he made a verb out of transgender? It makes some sense, and language changes all the time. The real problem is his ignorance of transpeople and his shitty writing.

  • Alex

    I agree with Don -- and Brown actually isn't the first person to use it:

    Hilton Als is pretty sympathetic, I think, to the cause of transpeople, so I don't think the word itself needs to be dismissed.

  • Jacylyn

    Don, Amanda was an English major. Linguistic ignorance is to be expected.