Talk About Transgender People in the Right Way

A lot of times, I see even well-intentioned people say things about transgender people that are either wrong, inaccurate, or hurtful. While I do appreciate that your intentions may be good, it’s really important to know how to talk about transgender people, and I don’t think it’s super difficult. There are some common errors that people make when talking about transgender people. Obviously, you are an individual, and have the right to talk about transgender people however you want. This is just a guide for you if you want to talk about transgender people in the most respectful, compassionate, and accurate way.

The most common mistake I see is people writing or saying “transgendered”. You don’t “transgender” someone, and you don’t get “transgendered”. Transgender is an adjective not a verb. So, instead of saying,”a transgendered person,” you can say,” a transgender person.” It’s okay to shorten transgender to trans. Trans and transgender are both adjectives, you need to put a noun after is, so you shouldn’t say “a trans’ or “a transgender”. You can say ” trans people”, “transgender rights”, or “transgender women” something like that.

Avoid the word “transsexual”. Some trans people still use this word for themselves, and that’s okay because they’ve reclaimed it, but you shouldn’t go around throwing this word on people. A lot of trans people consider it an outdated and derogatory word. A transsexual is generally used to mean a transgender person who has genital surgery.

Don’t say “transgenderism,”. That makes it sound like a disease. If you are trying to talk about the overall experience of being trans, I think the best way to rephrase your sentence is simply to say “being trans” or “trans people”. So, instead of saying,”there’s been a rise in transgenderism,” say,”there’s been a rise in people coming out as trans”. In most cases, I think it’s best to just reframe your sentence to be more specific to what you are talking about.

Feel free to use the word “cisgender”. This simply is the opposite of transgender. It’s someone whose gender matches the gender they were assigned at birth. So, if you are not transgender or genderqueer, you are cisgender. For instance, a lot of studies are done on cis men and cis women, but the findings are usually reported as being applicable to just “men and women”. A lot of the time, findings that are specific to cis men and cis women do not apply to trans people. So simply adding that little three-letter word in front of men or women actually changes the story a lot. It makes it more specific and accurate, and it also raises awareness of a word that a lot of people probably don’t know.

Don’t say that someone was “born a boy” or ” born a girl,”. Not only is it insulting, but it’s just not accurate. Nobody was born a girl or a boy. Especially in a trans dating, or you are seeing some have a transgender dating. They were born with specific genitalia and then assigned a gender based on that. For example, trans women are not men who later became women. They are women who were wrongly assigned a gender when they were young, but they didn’t figure it out until later in life.