CW: uncensored t-slur appears once in this post
Welcome to another episode of the Shit Cis People Say Alphabet! Today:
T is for “transgenders, transwomen, transmen, tr***y”
Cis people really don’t know how to talk about trans people. And part of me wants to be patient with people around this, because of course if someone is approaching a new concept, they’re not going to be on top of it right away.
But at the same time, I often see cis people (even those who are aware of their own ignorance on the topic) blithely jumping into threads where trans people have already repeatedly demonstrated good terminology and just using whatever the heck words they make up/decide to use instead. It’s extremely frustrating y’all!
So, here’s a quick-and-dirty look at words you should and should not use to refer to trans people:
- Transgenders/’a transgender’ – Much like I am not ‘a tall’, even though I am a tall person, I am not a transgender, even though I am a transgender person. Similarly a group of transgender people is just that, not a group of ‘transgenders’.
- Transwomen/transmen/transpeople – except for in the very specific case when the specific person you are talking about actually very specifically uses any of these words to describe themselves, these sorts of compound words are actually a little dehumanizing. Again, like I’m not a tallperson, or a whiteperson, (although I am tall and white) I’m also not a transperson.
Say it with me: Trans men are men. Trans women are women. Although trans people need the word trans (or transgender) in order to talk about the ways in which our experiences differ from cis (or cisgender) people’s, we aren’t completely different kinds of humans, and our transness doesn’t make our genders any less legitimate than cis people’s.
- Tranny – this is a literal slur, y’all. Like with other slurs, those directly impacted by it may sometimes reclaim it, or use it to refer to themselves, but if you are cis you should never use it. Just don’t.
- Transgender people
- Trans people
- Trans men/transgender men (when referring to people who are trans and identify as men)
- Trans women/transgender women (when referring to people who are trans and identify as women)
- People (Pro tip: this is always safe for talking about any people! Amazing!)
- Men (when referring to people who identify as men)
- Women (when referring to people who identify as women)