TIPS FOR TALKING WITH TRANSGENDER, NON-BINARY, GENDERQUEER, GENDER NON-CONFORMING, GENDER VARIANT PEOPLE AND MEN AND WOMEN
IT IS POOR FORM TO:
- OUT SOMEONE – don’t say “When John was a girl,” or “I knew her as a man,” or “Did I know he’s trans?”
- IDENTIFY SOMEONE AS A TRANSPERSON – “Even if they identify as “Trans” they will self identify naturally through conversation, based on the trust of those they are engaged with.
- USE – “hermaphrodite”, “she-male”, “he-she”, “transvestite” or “tranny.” NEVER. Even transsexual is old.
- ASK THEIR DEAD NAME (NAME GIVEN TO THEM) OR USE IT – Dead names does not indicate gender identity.
- ASK THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THEIR NAME – ask why they chose their name, again they will share if they wish to.
- ASSUME THEY HAD/WILL HAVE SURGERY OR TAKE/WILL TAKE HORMONES – Not all Trans people do.
- ASK ABOUT BOTTOM SURGERY – PERIOD. Or for that matter, do not ask about any surgery.
- COMMENT ABOUT ANYONE’S GENDERED APPEARANCE – this is offensive to all people not just Trans people.
- TO ASSUME ALL MEN AND WOMEN ARE “MEN AND WOMEN” – or to assume Trans people are not men or women.
IT IS GOOD FORM TO:
- USE THEIR PRONOUNS AND THEIR NAME – and pronouns/name are never “preferred,” they just ARE the pronouns used and the name they are called (Just like you)
- USE THEIR FIRST NAME IF YOU ARE UNSURE OF THEIR GENDER – Or just identify your gender and pronouns first.
- GET TO KNOW THEM AS A PERSON FIRST – respect their gender identity, even you do not understand everyone’s gender.
- SAY I DON’T KNOW – look to them to share (on their time) their own lived experience and expertise.
- UNPACK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS AND COUNTER-TRANSFERENCE – leave your curiosity at the door.
- RECOGNIZE ORGANIZED, SYSTEMIC OPPRESSION OF TRANSPEOPLE – it’s genderism (or cissexism) not transphobia.
- ACKNOWLEDGE WHEN YOU MISGENDER SOMEONE – “He is going with us”. “Oh, she is going with us”. “Debbie is here, John is here. Apologies are not necessary. And saying, I’ve always known YOU as Debbie” is inappropriate.
- UNDERSTAND YOUR OWN GENDER – ask yourself, “Why am I this way; why do I ‘like’ my body, ‘like’ my name?”
- KNOW THAT SOME TRANSPEOPLE MAY BE GENDERQUEER – and have no desire to medically transition.
- REMEMBER SOME PEOPLE SEE THEMSELVES AS TEACHERS – and are willing to share pictures and answer questions. Some do not see themselves as teachers and do not want to talk about their identity, race, religion etc.
IT'S GOOD FORM TO REMEMBER
GENDER IDENTITY OR GENDER EXPRESSION DOES NOT EQUAL SEXUAL ORIENTATION
- A male-bodied person with some feminine characteristics or behaviours, does not mean they are gay
- A female-bodied person with masculine characteristics or behaviours, does not mean they are lesbian.
- Their sexual orientation is not based on past gender identity or how you think or assume they identify.
- Gender nonconforming people may feel they have no gender, they may feel both male and female or half male and/or half female or none of the above. And they may be attracted to all the above.
AS A CLINICIAN / NURSE / DOCTOR
- ALL PEOPLE DESERVE ACCESS TO MEDICAL CARE AND TREATMENT, EVEN TRANSPEOPLE
- THE HEALTH CARD IS A PIECE OF PAPER, IT DOES NOT CONTROL OR REGULATE SOMEONE’S GENDER.
- BE RESPECTFUL – only ask questions/provide care relevant to your service and expertise.
- DOCTORS, REMEMBER MANY TRANSPEOPLE DO NOT HAVE A FAMILY DOCTOR – because many doctors will not treat them, and some medical professionals will not even touch them, so you need to ask questions.
- ALL SOCIAL WORKERS/CLINICIANS/NURSES/DOCTORS SHOULD ADVOCATE FOR THEIR TRANS PATIENT.
TO DO THAT START BY QUESTIONING YOUR OWN GENDER