Trans glossary. How to call trans people not to offend them


We all know that trans people should not be misgendered – addressed by the gender they are not identifying with. If you are not transphobic, you will never call Caitlyn Jenner ‘he’ or Chez Bono – ‘she’. The same thing is about deadnaming – using a name the person used to have before transition. Chez Bono is not Chastity, Caitlyn Jenner is not Bruce, it seems easy and clear. Of course, there are gender-neutral names (Aspen, Phoenix, Drew, Taylor etc.) and the person may not change their name when transitioning. There are also cases when male and female names have the same short forms. For example, if there is a trans woman whose deadname was Charles and whose new name is Charlotte, friends can continue calling her Charlie as they used to.

Okay, we have come in terms with the names in particular cases, but how to call the trans community in general? ‘Transgender’ is the most acceptable term and you can use it in any case referring to a person whose gender identity differs from sex assigned at birth. If a person has undergone a gender reassignment surgery or wants to, this person can be called transsexual. But it is a very delicate issue. It is impolite to ask a person about their genitalia or plans on any surgical changes, so it is unlikely to find out whether a transgender person is really transsexual. If you don’t know for sure, don’t risk.’Transvestite’ is an out-of-date term which is now considered offensive. It referred to a cross-dresser – a male person who wears female clothes (it can be vice versa, but rarely, women wear ties and trousers for centuries and it is not considered cross-dressing anymore. But wearing high heels and dresses by men is, at least now) for fun. A person who does it to entertain other people as a part of an acting show, a performance, is called a drag queen. A shortening ‘tranny\trannie’ is as abusive and offensive for a trans person as ‘faggot’ or ‘dyke’ for a gay man or woman respectively.


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