Tuesday’s Top Ten: Trans-Positive Behaviors
With the debut of Caitlyn Jenner this week, I thought it fitting to share some trans etiquette. Some people have taken ignorant to a whole new level of asshattery. Please, read this and stop, just stop being an asshat.
10. Stop caring so much whether someone is male or female. Stop thinking that every unattractive person must have been born the opposite sex of the one they’re “attempting” now. Stop using “tranny” as an insult to everyone you think is ugly.
Many trans people are more attractive as their chosen identity, and you can’t even tell. (No, not even you.)
9. Stop worrying about a trans person’s sexuality. Gender and sexual orientation do not go hand in hand. In fact, most people willing to admit that they are not defined by their current gender are more open to who they find attractive and what they want in a sexual partner. If that means they are asexual, gay, bi, pan, or fall anywhere else on the spectrum, they don’t care. They are simply being who they are and loving who they love. That’s my highest hope for the world, so maybe we should all aspire to be more like them.
8. Stop using the person’s birth name when they tell you a new name. STOP IT. STOP IT NOW. Using a person’s chosen name shows that you care about his or her true identity, and proves you’re a decent fucking human being.
7. The biggest compliment you can pay a transgender person is letting him/her/ze pass. Don’t even question. If your genderqueer friend dresses male one day and female the next, allow him to be who he wants, and allow her to do as she pleases. Make-up and scarf today? SHE/HER/HERS. Slicked-back hair, stubble, no lipstick? HE/HIS/HIS. Not sure who he/she is on a given day? ASK. It may be a ZIE/ZIR/ZIRS day.
6. Have patience with people questioning gender identity. Coming to terms with something as earth-shattering as having a body that your brain–your very soul–rejects is a lot for one human to deal with.
5. Admit your limits as an ally. Unless you’ve been there, you don’t know everything your friends are going through. Ask. Listen. Offer condolences and affirmations when needed, and apologize when you misjudge which is which:
Friend:”My beard is growing like crazy.” Me: “Oh. That must suck.” Friend: “I LOVE IT!” Me: “Of course you do. I’m sorry!”(okay, so this is a poor example.)
4. Avoid backhanded compliments:
“I would have never known you were trans. Your neck scars are barely visible.”
“You could pass for a man/woman if you considered voice lessons.”
“Is that your Halloween costume? You’re too __ to be a __.”
3. Stop the sexual harassment. Yes, asking about someone’s genitals and how, exactly, he or she has sex IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT. Litmus test: if you wouldn’t want a stranger to ask you those types of questions, you probably shouldn’t ask a trans person.
2. Use the right pronouns. If you don’t know, ask. It’s SHE for Caitlyn Jenner. Granted, some people are gender-queer and don’t think binary pronouns describe them. If ze wants to be called ze, use ze… It’z fun to zay.
1. Love people for who they are. It’s that simple.