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NEVER say These Things to Transgender People

It is strangely common to see cisgender people asking invasive, offensive, and deeply personal questions directed at people from the trans community.

Today, there is no dearth of information regarding the community, so these questions are usually redundant and the answers can be easily found with a quick Google search.

If you are a cisgender person who wants to educate yourself about the trans community, it is crucial to be sensitive and cautious while framing your questions.

While the majority of trans people would be happy to answer your questions, it is crucial to learn what questions are appropriate and what aren’t.

This article will list some topics that are a no-go when talking to transgender people.

 

1.) The first one is the most obvious one- you should avoid asking them questions about the procedures and surgeries they have undergone.

Nobody would go and ask a cis individual questions about there nether regions, and as a rule of thumb, that applies to the trans community as well.

It is highly invasive and deeply offensive and outright inappropriate. If you are dating a trans person, it is natural to be curious.

However, refrain from asking them that question because if they are interested in you, they will eventually bring it up on their own.    

  

2.)  Another inappropriate question that many trans people often encounter is, “what is your real name,” alluding to their dead name.

This information is deeply personal and furthermore, it is no longer relevant. Being aware of their name after they have transitioned is adequate to interact with them.

For many trans people, their dead name could trigger them by bringing up instances from their traumatic past.

It can be emotionally distressing to think about their dead name.

Trans people change their name for a reason- to connect more with their identity and bringing up their dead name would be counterproductive.   

 

3.) Along the same lines, it is important to never ask a trans person to see pictures from their past that were clicked before transitioning.

Similarly, telling a trans person that they look “pretty” or “handsome” for a trans individual is not a compliment.

For many trans people, looking back at their old pictures can be traumatizing as it could bring back memories of them trapped in a body they couldn’t associate with.

It can be painful and discomforting. A lot of times, these questions may come from a place of curiosity and are not intended to be hurtful.

However, when you pose too many questions because of your curiosity, it could make people uncomfortable and feel like they are being studied under a magnifying glass.    

 

4.) Another microaggression against trans people is when you ask whether something about them is “authentic” or “natural.”

This could be about their breasts or voice or anything else. It is offensive to assume that any beautiful aspect of a trans person is fake or manufactured.

Even if they are not natural, it does not make them any less attractive or valid.

A lot of time, it is usually just the hormonal changes. The general implication here is that trans people cannot naturally look beautiful.

Similar to how we would never ask a cisgendered person about the surgeries they have undergone, as a general rule, never ask a trans person this question.   

 

5.) One of the most offensive questions that trans people keep encountering is “why are so many people from this community sex workers?”

This is a highly inappropriate question that stems from absolute ignorance. Trans people are constantly denied jobs in every field and are a widely hated minority.

It is also a highly fetishized community. As a result, this is often the only field where trans women can make living wages.

However, if you want to learn more about this topic, please refer to books and research papers instead of subjecting trans people to such questions.    

 

6.) Anytime you meet a trans person, you may be tempted to talk about another person you know who is from the trans community.

However, refrain from doing that. Every trans person is different and their experiences are unique.

Gender and sexuality are two different concepts, which is very important to understand.

You should refrain from putting the entire LGBTQ+ community in one box. Stereotyping an entire community can cause a lot of harm in the long run.    

 

7.) Finally, sexuality is a personal topic and thus, you should not ask a trans person or any individual about it.

If you are wondering how transitioning impacts a person’s sexuality, you can look up YouTube videos or read books associated with this topic.

However, when a trans person discusses their gender identity, it is crucial not to digress towards sexuality.

They are unrelated topics, making it irrelevant. It is also a touchy topic, because during the initial phases of transitioning, people are still figuring themselves out, regarding their sexuality as well.

It can be overwhelming and confusing without a barrage of questions.   

 

So, these are some things you should never ask a trans person. It does not mean you should walk on eggshells.

But if you are an ally, it can really help to know what you should not ask!

We hope this helps.    

 

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