5 Things You Really Need To Stop Asking Transgender People

5 Things You Really Need To Stop Asking Transgender People

Because we are really tired of it.

When I came out as transgender in 2009, I had to be diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder to be classified as a “true transgender individual.” Thankfully, that diagnosis was removed when the DSM-5 was published in 2013.

Although it may not feel like it due to recent political events, there has been an incredible amount of progression in the transgender community since then. Yet, I still get asked the same inappropriate questions several times a month.

I am only one transgender person and I do not represent the entire community. The following is based on my own personal experiences and, keep in mind when reading, I was around 15 years old when I came out. These were the types of questions people would ask me even though I was a minor.

In no particular order, these are my personal top five things you should not ask a transgender person.

1. What’s your “real name” (aka “birth name”)?

If someone says their name is John, you call them John. You don’t need to know someone’s birth name. It really is that simple, folks.

2. Did you have THE surgery?

There are two major problems with this question; first, it’s very invasive and personal and, second, this promotes the stereotype that all trans people MUST experience dysphoria and MUST medically transition to be considered transgender. Realistically, there are countless transfolk that cannot or do not want to transition. Please stop pressuring trans people to alter their bodies.

3. What bathroom do you use?

Unfortunately, this question has become even more popular because of the bathroom bill House Bill 2 that was passed in North Carolina last year. In summary, it means a person must use the restroom/changing room that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificate.

Just let me pee in peace. Seriously. Public bathrooms are anxiety inducing as it is. I don't want to be in there any longer than you do.

4. How do you have sex?

I get physically intimate with someone and we call it sex. That's it. Surprise!

But, seriously, do you intend to have sex with me and or a transgender person? If not, you don’t need to know. Any discussion about intimacy is a conversation you need to have after someone says it's okay to ask!

5. But I’m just curious! Aren’t you supposed to educate me?

Curiosity is never a justifiable excuse to ask crude, uncomfortable, and personal questions. It is not my job as a visible trans person to educate you. I'm also a very curious person. If I can take the time to look something up via Google or other resources, so can you. Otherwise, you’re not really curious – you’re just nosy.

If you only remember one thing from this post, let it be this: Before you ask a transgender person a question, ask yourself if knowing the answer will actually make a difference in your life. If you think you can go on without knowing, don’t ask. We deserve respect and privacy too.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

Popular Right Now

Female.. Male.. Non-Binary?

What does it feel like to not associate with your assigned sex?

Remember the Toy Story doll that was a baby head missing an eye with a metallic crab-like body that you couldn't keep your eyes off of because it just wasn't right? Imagine waking up every day and looking in the mirror just to feel like that. To feel like you weren't made right and it's just not supposed to be.

Many people feel like this, including YouTube singer, Sade Bolger, from the day puberty hits or even before. Sade experienced an "overwhelming amount of dysphoria" feeling "a lot of discomfort, hate, self consciousness" about his body. He hid his then female body in any way possible until discovering top surgery, the removal of breasts. He discussed this possibility with his parents and they welcome the idea with open arms and began the process.

Though he was extremely anxious, the idea of finally being comfortable in his own body had overcome any negative thoughts very easily. This was a comfort he never thought he'd be able to have; it was what he needed most.

I had the opportunity to Skype with Sade through this process when his whole world was changing for the better. He said that he finally felt normal and had nothing to hide, especially on stage or in front of the camera where he feels most natural. When I had asked him to rate the life change on a scale of one to ten, he did not hesitate to say "infinite". Months after the top surgery, Sade decided it was time to take a leap of faith by starting testosterone, which was concerning due to his passion for singing; he didn't know how it would affect his voice exactly. Now nine months on T, he's still singing and playing his instruments, but has also found a newborn passion.

Taking on the role of a model in the LGBTQ+ community, Sade has made some vlogs and films about the transition, gender, sexuality, etc. Sade says that this is his chance to not only teach people about the LGBTQ+ community, but also to help inspire others to be themselves and take all necessary steps to become comfortable in their own skin. In our interview, his main message to all was, "Be yourself; openly, happily, contently, and completely unapologetically. Don't feel bad for being gay or trans. Don't feel like you have to hide it. Don't feel scared. Know that there are millions of people in the world that are just exactly like you."

Sade wants this message to reach those in need, those in the closet, those who weren't accepted for who they are, and he wants to make a difference in their lives. Furthering his career in music, he is studying music education and social justice pathways at the University of Vermont. After seeing a plethora of positive comments on his videos saying that his voice made everything seem okay, Sade said his main goal is to create therapeutic effects with his music for anyone that will listen, whether they support his decision to transition or not.

Listen to his story here, or on his YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/sadiebolja/videos.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Gender Is A Fuck For The Person Who Just Doesn't Fit

My experiences being a non-binary individual.
"Who taught you how to hate your self?
Who forced you to confide in spell?" - The Hotelier, Life In Drag.

It's a subject I've touched on quite a bit on my twitter, it's a core part of my identity, and yet I've never written a long-form post about it. Perhaps it was fear of what people would say, how they'd look at me differently, the sneers of attention seeker I can see a few people making. Perhaps it was just not knowing what to say, the exact expression, the exact terminology is still something I'm trying to work out.

All I have are a set of pronouns, they/them.

The default when gender is unknown. An umbrella identity: nonbinary. Neither male nor female, but an other. I have occasional bursts of extreme facial hair because some people tell me I can pull it off, marking me as mask. I lack the delicate features and high voice one might attribute to their idea of what androgyny is. I have makeup as a signifier, the black nails, black lipstick and extravagant eye makeup drawing the lines between the New Romantics and the early 00's metalcore scene in Orange County. All I really have is that niggling sensation that I just, don't fit, any of the traditional models of expression.

I came out first to two of my best friends in late January of 2016, gradually to other people here and there, pronouns in the bio, mentioning it in person when I felt safe enough to. It's been an interesting journey, put mildly. Some people have been really chill and accepting of it. Some people were curious but otherwise quite calm about it. Some people have been otherwise grand but repeatedly misgendered me, n sometimes I've bothered correcting them but it almost feels worse, like the way I feel most at ease is an inconvenience.

Existing in the wider world hasn't been a whole lot easier either, here comes the milking of pain for views, bleeding out for clicks. The deluge of transphobia I see on a daily basis, the attack helicopter jokes, the organised lobbying in the United Kingdom trying to drive my community into our graves, pages closer to home posting hate speech dressed as memes, tacitly approved with likes and haha reacts from people I know would never look me in the eyes and say it.

There have been so many times I've been out and about I've genuinely worried for my safety, would I have to fight, would anyone jump in for me or was I an acceptable casualty should that happen for not fitting the role assigned to me. It never stops, and it takes a toll, and sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had taken the "easier" path of just being cis. Why add something else wrong with me in addition to everything else, a repeated thought that often crossed my mind. Yet at the same time, I'm here, I'm doing something I wish I did a long time ago. My name is Mal. My pronouns are they/them. I'm here, and I am valid. There's a set of lyrics i find it fit to close this piece off with,

"For years I hated myself for not feeling adequate, for not feeling like the man I was told to be. I hung on to these notions of masculinity until the shame of not belonging cut holes through my skin.

Take these trembling hands and tell me it’s not all broken, that it’s not all lost. I want to burn as bright as a million stars, free from all the guidelines of how I should feel. I want to burn as bright as a million stars. Fleeting as it may be, steady as our hearts. " - Respire, Anthem For Falling Stars,

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

Related Content

Facebook Comments