Happy Trans Day of Visibility !
Hi and welcome back to Transitions: Enlightened Conversations with our Trans Community.
In this chapter and to honor Trans Day of Visibility, we will talk about the common things that shouldn't be said to a person of trans experience and I will share my views on those.
To educate the public and bring awareness of the struggles we face, please see below the top ten thingNOT to say to a person of trans experience:
1. So you are really a man/woman?
No, we are the gender that we identify as and we use the pronouns we advised you of. The sex assigned at birth has nothing to do with who we are nor with the conversation, therefore it should not be talked about.
2. I’m really straight, just attracted and curious about you for being trans.
The fact that you are straight has absolutely nothing to do with being attracted to a trans person. If you are a male who is attracted to a woman that happens to be trans, you are still straight, and that is a woman you are attracted to.
3. For women of trans experience: Can I see your penis or do you still have a penis? For men of trans experience: Did they make you a penis or does it work?
If it is not correct to randomly ask a cis man or woman about their genitalia, what makes it correct to ask that to a trans person?
4. You don’t look like a man/woman.
No one should be judging or criticizing anyone for how they look, whether is race, gender, weight, religious beliefs, no one has the right to tell anyone, “you don't look like what you are”. It's disrespectful.
5. I think you should hold off on your transition, other people are not ready to deal with this.
Transgenders are not transitioning for others, we transition for ourselves, to finally align mind and body. You don’t have to accept it, but you should respect it as you respect other people's decisions about their lives. Telling someone to hold off on their transition is telling them, “it’s not convenient for me to see you happy”
6. You are too small/thin to be a guy or you are too big/tall to be a woman.
Being tall, thin, big, or small are qualities of a person’s physical attributes regardless of the sex given at birth, therefore it is not a description that defines someone’s gender.
7. You do know that your chromosome will always be XY/XX.
You do realize that chromosomes don't define someone's gender identity.
8. As a trans-woman/trans-man, do you like guys/girls?
Your sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with your gender identity. Don’t confuse them.
9. I don't understand how you can not be happy in your body, that just makes no sense to me.
This is not about you, it's about a human being that has been suffering from Gender Dysphoria for years and finally decided to accept who they are and take the steps towards happiness. It's okay for you not to understand, but to be an ally, you must first remove yourself from the equation and open your eyes to consider the journey of the trans person. It's the only way to see someone else's struggle.
10. For me, you will always be (dead name)
We understand that it's hard to change overnight how you address someone, especially a loved one, but because of that same love and affection you have towards that person, you show more support when you try really hard to address them by their pronouns and their name.
As part of my transition, one of the comments I usually get is “Why transition? You were a good-looking guy”. I was not, I was a woman putting a facade to fit in society, pretending to identify with the sex assigned to me at birth. I lived a lie. No one should have to live like that.
As a woman of trans experience, that has faced all of these comments above and many more, I consider myself an open book and want to be a source to allies and give an answer to these comments, so the next time you meet a person of trans experience, you know what to and not to say.
DID YOU KNOW?
Transgender Day of Visibility (or TDOV) was founded in 2009 by Rachel Crandall, a Michigan-based transgender activist and the Executive Director of Transgender Michigan. It was started as a day of awareness to celebrate the successes of transgender and gender-nonconforming people and is an important day for the LGBTQ community.
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