Storify: Transgender Terminology in 2017

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

A very brief thread on transgender terminology for 2017:

"Trans" is short for transgender, which is an adjective when used with words like "woman", "man", and "people".

It is currently the fashion to place a space between adjective and modified noun. Trans woman, not transwoman. Blond man, not blondman. Similarly, 'transgender woman' not "transgenderwoman" and 'cis woman', not "ciswoman" or "cisgenderwoman".

Not everyone terminologies this way, but it's important to note that some REGs (reactionary exclusionary gatekeepers) use terms as flags. REGs tend to use "transwoman" so they can parse a TERFy difference between "transwomen" and "women".

So if you are cis, it is probably good practice to mind your spaces, lest you accidentally look like you're speaking the TERFy lingo. A good rule of thumb with "trans" is "would I have a space here if I spelled out 'transgender' in full?" Usually the answer is 'yes'.

Trans man, i.e., transgender man.
Trans woman, i.e., transgender woman.
Trans person, i.e., transgender person.

And this will save you from writing "trans gender" because that would mean "transgender gender" which would be rather silly looking. So remember: Trans woman. Trans man. Trans person. Transgender. (No space.) Because "trans" is short for transgender.

PLEASE note the "if you are cis" qualifier here. Some trans people DO refer to themselves without the space. Nothing more teeth-grinding than seeing cis people yell at a trans man for calling himself a "transman". He's allowed. Leave him alone. If you are ever in doubt about how to refer to a SPECIFIC person (like if you're writing about them), ask, ask, ask them directly.

When someone talks about being an Adjective Noun, please do NOT pop in to drop the Adjective off and insist they're just Noun. "You're not a disabled/trans/fat/brunette/mentally ill person, you're a person!" No, bad, stop. When you do that, you are suggesting that their Adjective is shameful or irrelevant, when it is neither. There ARE times when someone might refuse an Adjective for themselves. But when someone takes your Adjective away to be "nice", that's bad.

When I talk about being a trans person, some nice someone often pops up to say "you're not a trans person, you're a person!" and... no. That's not actually inclusive. I know people THINK it's inclusive, but it's not. It's annoying and even harmful. It telegraphs that my transness makes you uncomfortable or embarrassed or ashamed, like how we don't talk about farts in public.

I'm trans. I'm not ashamed of it and it profoundly affects my life. I'm a trans person. I fought hard for that label. Don't take it away.


Post a Comment