Released in 1996, I can’t recall when I first heard “Born Slippy” by electronic dance music (EDM) group Underworld, which was featured on the Trainspotting soundtrack. Since its release, lyrics from the group’s vocalist, Karl Hyde, have been debated using varying interpretive perspectives.
Some have questioned whether or not the song addresses “trans” (transgender) issues, as lyrics include:
Drive boy, dog boy, dirty, numb angel, boy
In the doorway boy, she was a lipstick boy
She was a beautiful boy and tears, boy
And all in your inner space, boy
You had hands, girl, boy, and steel boy
You had chemicals ,boy, I’ve grown so close to you, boy
And you just groan boy, she said, “Come over, come over”
She smiled at you, boy
Though I’ve not been able to find definitive proof of the song representing trans-specific matters, I, too, have wondered about this topic throughout the years. Noteworthy, Hyde has expressed that the song relates to substance use, as trans specificity wasn’t addressed in an interview.
Suppose the song from Trainspotting does, at least in part, represent trans awareness. How would a Transpotting track impact you? Is it even possible for music to cause a reaction within a person?
Undoubtedly, many people may answer in the affirmative—endorsing an Action-Consequence (A-C) connection. This presumed relationship functions on the idea that beCAUSE an Action occurs, a Consequence of the event results.
You hear “Born Slippy,” that has ambiguous lyrics which could be interpreted as trans-specific (Action), and you become disgusted or angry (Consequence). Though seemingly valid, this is an incorrect sequence of events.
From a Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) perspective, people disturb themselves (Consequence) not by Actions though by Beliefs—forming a Belief-Consequence (B-C) connection. This relationship is represented by the ABC Model.
You hear “Born Slippy,” that has ambiguous lyrics which could be interpreted as trans-specific (Action); you assume, “People shouldn’t push a trans agenda through music” (Belief); and because your demand is violated you become disgusted or angry (Consequence).
This B-C connection places emphasis on personal ownership regarding an outcome. It is beCAUSE of your irrational Belief that an unpleasant Consequence results. The reason you are disturbed or upset is beCAUSE of your unhelpful assumption.
You may say, “But wait, Deric, my feeling about trans people can’t be invalidated, because all feelings are valid.” To this, I say that feelings represent emotions and bodily sensations—not beliefs, attitudes, opinions, assumptions, thoughts, or suspicions.
One doesn’t “feel” like eating tacos tonight, “feel” like going on a trip, or “feel” like the content of this blogpost is nonsense. These misrepresentations of feeling-based statements aren’t protected from challenge, merely because people are often told that “feelings” can’t be invalidated.
You could then reply, “Well, my ‘belief’ isn’t irrational, because I really do think people shouldn’t promote sociopolitical agendas in music.” To this, I say that simply because one’s convictions are real doesn’t mean they are rational, correct, or helpful.
One may truly believe that turning in a clockwise direction three times upon entering one’s home may prevent the spread of herpes, though this is an irrational belief, incorrect assumption, and this sentiment is not necessarily helpful. Even if one thinks trans matters shouldn’t be represented in music, this morally-based opinion isn’t entirely rational.
You may then conclude, “It doesn’t matter if my assumption is realistic, accurate, or advantageous, because I’m gonna’ believe it all the same.” To this, I say that it isn’t my place to tell you how you should, must, or ought to believe, feel, or behave.
My main focus as an REBT psychotherapist is to help people get better, rather than to simply feel better. I help people get out of their own way, and not everyone I encounter is willing to do so.
In 2000, I saw Underworld group member Darren Emerson perform live in Peru. In attendance were a number of trans people. Though “Born Slippy” wasn’t featured in Emerson’s set, it appeared as though the crowd enjoyed the show all the same—trans and non-trans alike.
We were there to have a good time and it didn’t seem to matter how anyone identified or whether or not those who were displeased with Underworld’s music approved. After all, there was a simple solution to the matter of people who self-disturbed over such matters.
If you don’t enjoy the music, don’t listen.
Currently, and particularly due to this being Pride Month, I’ve observed many people opposing trans issues through use of boycotts and other activistic means. In Ban, Ban Just as Fast as You Can, I addressed my observation related to the rightwing—with whom I was once aligned—adopting tactics of the leftwing.
While there is a case to be made regarding some trans-specific matters, especially those which involve people in the age of minority, not all belief-based opposition pertaining to trans issues is rational, correct, or helpful. You may disagree.
Whereas I can appreciate that people have differing beliefs, my role as an REBT practitioner is to help people disturb themselves less—or altogether in some instances—through challenge of unfavorable beliefs. Would you like to know more about how I may be able to help you?
If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.
As the world’s original EDM-influenced REBT psychotherapist—promoting content related to EDM, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.
At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!
Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW
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