By Veronica Leroux, TGT Staff Writer
In Part 1, I defined some key terms, differentiated between subtle meanings, and sought to encourage an open forum for Trans-related discussions. In Part 2 I will continue to explore the nuances of how TransGender (TG) people are addressed and spoken of.
Geographic and cultural acceptance of words and phrases can vary greatly. Some accept being called a certain term, while others may feel offended by the same word or phrase. Each individual presents their own persona and should be gracefully allowed to refer to themselves within their own ethical parameters. This guide is written from my perspective as a TransGender woman living in the United States. There is currently no comprehensive dictionary to define every possible TG term. Some of my Trans Brothers and Sisters may disagree with the opinions and stances taken here.
An important consideration is that there is nothing wrong with asking respectful questions. Some TransGender people do not mind teaching everything they know, while others may be completely closed about that aspect of their lives. Boundaries must be respected, along with a TG person’s sense of identity. Private things must be discussed in a private setting. Attempt to learn which terms, pronouns and even name they are comfortable with. In general, Trans people normally don’t get upset about mistakes made as long as a sincere effort to be tolerant is made.
Being Trans is not something that anybody would want to fake on a life long basis, though people vary greatly and it’s perfectly possible some do. It’s impossible to speak for all, but constantly putting oneself into a situation to be potentially harassed, disrespected, laughed at, assaulted, and discriminated against is not an enviable position to be in. This is what far too many Trans people endure, and it should never ever be tolerated. It’s a life choice, right?
The vast majority of people in America seem to believe that TransGender women are more sexually promiscuous than the average person. Promiscuity ranges greatly in society in general, but as exampled by my own experience as a Transsexual female, and the experiences of TG women I have spoken to, we are FAR LESS promiscuous than we were as our former male selves. Maybe we’re not even all prostitutes, huh?
One of the most controversial terms among Trans people is the word “Tranny.” Many of us are not fans of being called this as it is often used by CisGender people as a slur. There are also a number of those that wear it as a badge of courage, particularly the older folks who feel it is acceptable. We can only ask that if you’re using a term that we’ve expressed as being offensive to us, please respect our wishes and discontinue its use.
Getting to my all-time un-favorite, the ever-unclassy and totally unfabulous spawn of the porn fetish industry, “SHEMALE!” Variations include “He/She” and “Shim” In some parts of the world the terms are considered more acceptable, but American TG people who would agree are more difficult to find. PLEASE if you’re in the U.S., refrain at all times from this hurtful and sexually aggressive term. Consider that it’s the equivalent of the strongest racial or religious slurs you can imagine.
This article is the original work of Veronica Leroux for The TransGen Times.