How Should We Talk About Transgender Issues? 

Transgender issues in the United States and around the world are considerable. The community faces discrimination, hate, and violence.  It is all of our responsibilities to work to put an end to this and to help those who identify as transgender have the opportunities to live safe, loving, and fulfilling lives. 

Of course, making large-scale change takes time and the coordinated efforts of many.  However, change starts at home - with individual actions. As such, we share some advice as to how to talk about transgender issues.

Sex and Gender are Different

Sex is biological and assigned at birth. We see it in hospitals all the time.  On the other hand, gender is social and cultural. Individuals self-identify as a certain gender. For those whose identity does not match their sex, life can be incredibly challenging.  Understanding the difference between sex and gender and respecting and accepting that the two don’t always match is an important key to supporting the transgender community.

Words Matter

In life, respect is critical. As such, avoiding derogatory terms is necessary when talking about transgender issues. Slang terms can be offensive and hurtful. Words that we should add to our vocabularies and concentrate on using include trans man, trans woman, and male to female and female to male transitions.

Anatomy Is Private

Honestly, this should be common sense. But, with regard to transgender individuals, manners seem to have gone out the window. Medical information regarding surgery is private, and asking about it is rude. There are so many other things to discuss. Mind your manners and don’t ask about transitions. It’s simply none of your business.

Use the Right Pronoun

As the world becomes more accepting and progressive, we have seen many more people share their preferred pronouns in conversation and on social media.  Many colleges and businesses encourage the inclusion of preferred pronouns in introductions. Asking someone what their preferred pronouns are should not be awkward, it’s simply polite. And, once you ask, make sure you use them!

Focus on Life

There is so much happening in the world, in your life, and in the life of those you know (regardless of their gender identification). In general, it’s best to avoid a focus on identifying as transgender or transgender issues, unless that person raises the topic. Not everyone wants to discuss that aspect of their life. Let them take the lead and follow in suit.

The bottom line, treat others the way you wish to be treated in return. Taking the time to make some minor modifications to how we behave and converse can make life so much better for everyone with whom we interact.

Transgender individuals comprise an important segment of our community and it is our job to support them in any way we can.  At Rainbow Depot, we are proud of the transgender community and the progress they continue to advocate for every single day. We applaud your efforts and encourage all of our friends and family to talk about transgender issues appropriately.