8 Things To Never Ask A Trans Person
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8 Things To Never Ask A Trans Person

Trans people are all around you - in fact, a trans person wrote this article! Here are a list of 8 things that you should never ask a transgender person, along with a brief explanation as to why.

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8 Things To Never Ask A Trans Person
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Has someone ever come out to you as transgender? You've probably had a lot of questions to ask them, right? Maybe some questions that you didn't know were inappropriate, and maybe some you did.

Here are 8 questions that you should never, ever ask a trans person.

1. So, what’s your REAL name?

My real name is whatever I tell you it is, and the same goes for any other person who gives you their name. You are not allowed to ask what my birth name is, and phrasing it like “real name” implies that the name I have either chosen or decided upon for myself is somehow not real. This also serves to invalidate my identity and the identities of other trans people who go by different names than their birth names.

Essentially, do not ask this question of a trans person - it is incredibly disrespectful.

2. No, but like.. What were you born as?

Does it matter what gender I was assigned at birth? The answer is always going to be no. Why would you care if, when I came out of the womb, the doctor who checked for my genitalia saw either a vagina or a penis or something else, and decided based upon that and that alone what my gender would be for the rest of my life?

You shouldn’t care. That’s the whole point.

Aside from that, a lot of transgender people use the terms DxAB - designated x gender at birth - or CAxAB - coercively assigned x gender at birth - or AxAB - assigned x gender at birth. Those of us who use the above terms tend to use them because we believe that it is not the doctor’s place to decide tthe child's gender as soon as it is born.

So no, it doesn’t matter what I or anyone else was born as. What matters is who I am now.

3. It’s going to be so hard to change the pronouns I use for you, can’t you make an exception for me?

No. Learn to adapt, or don’t use pronouns for me at all.

4. What do you have, like.. “down there”?

Well, I’m probably wearing underwear. Is that what you meant?

...No? Oh, so you’re asking me about my genitals. In a public setting. To my face. When I know and you know and everyone knows that it’s basic etiquette not to ask anyone about their genitalia.

Don’t ask any trans people about their genitals, even if you are really curious. It’s absolutely none of your business and it’s never going to be. End of story.

5. Have you had “the surgery”?

Do you really only think that there’s one magical, cure-all surgery for giving a trans person the body and the parts that they’ve always wanted? Because, dang, I want to live in a fantasy world like that.

In reality, there are more surgeries than just one that a trans person can get, with the two most talked-about being top surgery - removal or addition of breast tissue to the chest - and bottom surgery - creation or addition of specific genitalia.

The best way to ask someone if they have had any form of transitional surgery is to ask the question more like, “What have you been able to do to become more comfortable with/in your body?” While this does not ask directly about surgeries, it can open up a whole discussion about surgeries and hormones and allow you to become better educated.

6. So are you a real man/real woman now?

The person you are asking that question to is more than likely going to be insulted. The moment that that person decided, “I’m a transgender girl” or “I’m a transgender boy”, that person BECAME a “real” woman or “real” man.

This is harmful for the same reason as it is harmful to ask someone what their “real” name is: it implies that whatever gender the person identifies as now, it is not valid or real.

My real gender is whatever I tell you my gender is.

7. Are you transgender because you’re insecure about your body?

I mean… sort of? Many - but not all! - transgender people experience dysphoria. Dysphoria is basically a general state of unease or dissatisfaction, and when it is applied to the issues of transgender people, it often means that that person is feeling uneasy or dissatisfied with their body. This could occur due to being misgendered, called by their birth name, or simply by remembering that your body is not the way you want it to be.

So, yeah. Maybe I’m insecure about my body and I’m transgender all at once. But just because I deal with body issues/insecurity and I’m transgender doesn’t mean that I am trans BECAUSE of my body issues. Dysphoria can definitely play a part with it, but I can guarantee you that a person’s body insecurity or issues do not determine whether or not that person is transgender.

8. I know you’ve changed your name and pronouns, but you’ll always be [birth name] to me.


Don’t ever say this to a transgender person. Ever.

It is incredibly disrespectful to tell someone that you won’t use their actual name and the pronouns that make them feel comfortable in their own skin. You do not get to make the decision of what name or pronouns someone else goes by; only that person can make the decision for themselves. And if it is too hard for you to change, then maybe you just shouldn’t talk to that transgender person at all.


Transgender people need allies who are respectful, who listen, and who are willing to let trans people speak on their own experiences, rather than having cisgender people talk over us and assume they know better than we do.

Remember to ask your questions - not the aforementioned ones! - in a polite, respectful way, and come at it from a place of education and wanting to learn more about transgender people. We need all the support we can get, and if you listen to us, we will be more than happy to talk with you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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