What Not To Say To A Trans Person

An incomplete list.


1. I had no idea you were trans. For some trans people, namely, those who want to pass as cisgender, that is the whole point of transitioning. There’s no need to say it.

2. You don’t look trans. There is no one way to look trans.

3. You’re too pretty/handsome to be trans. This is mean. It implies both that trans people are inherently unattractive and that being transgender is an unattractive quality.

4. You’ll never be a real boy/girl. Why should you get to decide? There is no one way to be a boy/girl the same way there is no one way to be trans.

5. There are only two genders. Biological sex is a spectrum*, so this statement is untrue in addition to being unnecessarily limiting. Besides, gender is a social construct, which means that as a society we choose to give it meaning (just like dinnertime at 6 p.m. is not inherently a time to eat, but we’ve made it a norm). That means we can choose to accept as many genders as we want.

6. Changing pronouns is so hard. Not as hard as being constantly misgendered, which has been proven to take a negative toll on mental health.

7. What’s in your pants? An age-old question (that you would never ask a cisgender person) to which the answer is still none of your business. The answer doesn’t even matter because no trans person will sleep with you now anyway.

8. Using grammatically incorrect versions of the word transgender. These include but are not limited to “transgenders,” “transgendered” or “transgender” used as a verb or noun. Using the word transgender as a noun is dehumanizing because it generalizes about an entire community based on a single identifying trait that others us. Transgender is an adjective that describes a person, so when the word is thrown around without a care, it is hurtful to the community it describes.

9. You’re just looking for attention. Why would a person choose to subject themselves to bullying, harassment, the cost of a medical transition, workplace discrimination or a million other things that trans people have to face every day, just to get your attention? They wouldn’t — it’s not about you.

*People are not just born male or female. Intersex is an umbrella term for people who are born with both feminine and masculine physical traits/those who are born along the spectrum of biological sex as opposed to those who are born on one end or the other. Intersex people make up 1.7% of the population, that’s more than redheads! 

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