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Created November 5, 2017 22:33
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How to talk to and about trans women

How to talk to me

As of now, I ask that you try to call me by my preferred name, and refer to me using she, her, and hers.

Talking to someone who isn't conforming to gender expectations can be confusing. Here's how to make it easy:

  • If you mess up my name or pronouns at first, just acknowledge it and move on.
  • I may correct you, either directly, or by saying "who?" This doesn't mean I think you are being malicious. It's a process for all of us.
  • I may misgender myself sometimes. Habits can be cruel. I'll try to also acknowledge it and move on.
  • I'm (usually) not fragile. Treat me like any other woman.
  • If you feel you need practice, try using my name or pronouns when they would normally be implied.

In a few years, it will be my legal name. Right now, it's music to my ears.

How to talk about me

Unless you spend a lot of time around trans people, you may be afraid of saying something that offends me. You probably won't offend me, even if you say something cringey. Still, this can help:

  • I'm an adult, so I'm a gal, a lady, or a woman. If you are talking to somebody else and I'm not in the ER, it probably doesn't matter that I'm trans. If it does, I'm a trans woman.
  • Transgender is always an adjective. "Trans" is okay. You can be trans, have a trans friend or know trans folks.
  • For boring and pedantic (but still important) reasons, nobody is "a tranny," or "a transgender."
  • A trans person is not "a transsexual" or a pervert, because being trans is not about the act of sex, and sexual dimorphism is a reductive generalization. Trans people are as sexually diverse as the rest of the population.
  • The state of being trans--transness, if you must--isn't "transgenderism."
  • "Transgender" can apply to anyone whose at-birth gender assignment doesn't match their gender identity. Gender is a spectrum, and there are all kinds of trans identities that are as durable and permanent as yours. Nonbinary, genderfluid, agender, and even some intersex people are trans, as are others.
  • Yes, there will be times when I draw attention to the fact that I'm trans, but beyond the color of some accessories, rarely in real life. When I do, it's because if I'd had visible role models, this transition could have been earlier and easier. In a representational utopia, the trans part is just an expensive coincidence.
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