“You pass so well that I wouldn’t have known you were a girl!”
“How do you have sex?”
“What is your real name?”
“Are you friends with Chaz Bono?”
“So... did you have the surgery yet? Like the surgery?”
“You’re my token tranny. Oh don’t look at me like that. ‘Tranny’ is not a slur. You know I mean it in the nicest way possible.”
How many times have we heard these and countless other statements and questions from cis gendered people? I do not think I could personally count how many times I have heard these said to me or to my brothers. It happens daily to those that confide in their cis gendered friends and family and even on occasion from other trans* guys. The fact that these people believe they are entitled to the knowledge of the answers to these things. I understand some people being ignorant on the subject and want to know general things to inform themselves, but to ask for specifics such as “real name” and personal surgical procedures? That is going too far.
Now what if one day I just turn around and ask you (cis gendered person) a few personal questions.
“Really? Are you sure you are not trans* because you sound and look like one?”
“How do you have sex?”
“When did you know you were really a boy/girl?”
“Were you always ‘John’ or were you once ‘Jane’?”
“Do you know Robert Pattinson?”
“I’m glad to have a token cis person in my life. Of course I mean that in the nicest way possible.”
What would your reaction be to that? I highly doubt you would feel comfortable. I can picture you squirming in your seat from discontent right now. Palms sweaty and your eyes avoiding mine. Feeling uneasy at being called ‘cis.’ And you have not the slightest clue as to why. Well, I will tell you why. It is because that is how we feel and react whenever we are asked a personal question about our gender identity and transition. We feel it whenever you think you have the authority to label us. If you do not like feeling like this, then do not make us feel this way.
Another thing that leaves a bad taste of discontent in my mouth is this video I recently saw. Some of you may think it is funny, hilarious even, but I do not. The video is called “Sh*t Trans* Guys Say.” The video is a spinoff of all the other videos out there that talk about offensive phrases said to a group of people, such as “Shit cis people say to trans* men,” “shit straight guys say to lesbians,” and “shit Christians say to Jewish people.” These videos highlight on our societies shortcomings and ignorance in a comedic way to be educational. To find a way to get those saying these things to realize how offensive they are being by letting these things fly from their mouths. The video, “Sh*t Trans* Guys Say,” is not educational in the slightest. It just shows prejudice against the trans* men community. As if saying things such as, “does this shirt make me look flat?” or making video journals to mark checkpoints in one’s transition, makes someone “too trans*” or not “trans* enough.” Those that are not a trans* male or do not know one personally who watch this video will wind up thinking that all trans* males act and speak as shown in the video. Each person is different. Each transition is different. I understand that the person who made the video is a trans* male, but he does not have the right to put the rest of us in the same “trans* box” as him. Maybe I am the only one who found it offensive. Who knows? Or maybe I am just the only one who is blunt enough to speak my mind on how offensive this video really is. Again, who knows?
I could lie and say this article will change things, but I am not a liar. It may enlighten some people and make them feel the need to change. Some will, but a lot will fail. Mostly because even though they know it is wrong, they internally do not really want to change. Let’s hope that it does at least help one person change their behavior. Helping one may lead to that person helping another who will then help another, so on and so forth.