Questions to not ask Trans-Persons Part 1
What is your real name?
This is, quite possibly, the most rude question that can be asked of a transperson. I have been asked this very question on several occasions, and while it has not always been from someone who is rabidly transphobic, but it is wildly inappropriate. This question is often posited in the intention of learning more about a person but, for many transpeople, the past is exactly where it belongs; in the past. It also has the effect of invalidating the way in which they identify themselves.
Are you going to get ______surgery?
Seriously? How does anyone think this is any of their business? This question as about as classy as asking someone if they are going to be cremated when they die, while they are on the deathbed. Really. Keep this question in your mind, or better yet, put it out of your head. There is nothing about this topic that, for one, should matter, two, its that person’s decision to let you in on, or not. Usually not.
Question # 3
So, you’re really a ___but, you want to be a ______, right?
*Sigh* I can understand this question, to an extent, but ultimately it is not important where someone is coming from, or where they are going, for that matter. Gender is fluid and so is expression, this is seen in people adjusting fashion seasonally. Although fashion is not as meaningful as gender or gender expression, the parallel is still there. And for some people, asking them whether they are a boy or a girl is rather selfish and enforces the binary view of gender. Beyond that, many transpersons do not have the desire or the need to discuss the intimate details of their transition to everyone who asks. Some are more amenable to this but just assume that it would be like asking to read a private journal. A select few might say yes, most wont. Think before speaking and this along will eliminate many potential issues.
I recognize that this post may come off as bitchy, but that is not my intent here. I simply desire to provide people with an education. If there is anything in particular that seems rude, please, I am just a little bit less rude in real life. Which means I usually curse with a smile.
Much love to all,
The ____ spaces in the questions above mean, per question 2 bottom or top surgery. Which is a mastectomy for transmen and breast enhancement for transwomen. Question 3 is related to whether they are starting male and going female or female to male. This however, is even a generalization because some people are genderqueer, others are intersexed and that makes a “starting point” more difficult to establish and, perhaps, even less important. The best thing anyone can do for a friend who is in the process of transition, whether just coming out or a long way into transition, is to listen to them. Listening means so much, it is often the support of one or two close friends that gets many people through the daily struggle of coming out and living their life as they see best for themselves.