Transgender: Ask Me Anything - What questions might Steemit users have but been afraid to ask?

Common Questions People have when Interacting with a Transgender Person

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After being nicely asked some questions from @williambanks regarding the pronouns I prefer to use, or have others use in reference to me, I thought this might be a helpful post for the Steemit community.

There are many questions not asked to others because they may feel it is taboo or incite potential conflict, such as politics/political theory, religion/spiritual theory, education/child rearing...and in my case being transgender.

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Frequently those of you who are good natured and caring don't ask excellent questions simply because they don't want to chance offending the other person. While I completely understand the good sentiment behind this, it doesn't help in gaining mutual understanding.

[NOTE: I am only speaking from my own point of view and this should not be taken as the view of every transgender (non-binary,etc.) person, who each have their own thoughts and preferences.]

Some common questions I've been asked:

Q. What pronouns should be used?
A. I live and present myself as female and prefer to use female pronouns; she, her, etc. A good rule of thumb is to refer to a transgender person using pronouns matching what they are presenting. While this is not necessarily true for everybody, if there is a question about pronouns, just ask. I would assume most transgender people will take this as a pure, caring question and be more than happy to answer.

Q. What did you're name used to be?
A. Good rule of thumb is to not ask this. This 'old name' is commonly referred to by transpeople as their 'dead name.' While it might come up in conversation after establishing a friendship, this is not something to ask upon first meeting. (Personally, this wasn't an issue, having a gender neutral name like Corey, but I do believe I'm in the minority on this one.)

Q. What 'parts' do you have? or surgeries have been done?
A. Imagine yourself meeting a person for the first time and they ask you 'what genitalia do you have?' Pretty uncomfortable question coming from someone you just met, right? Same thing for transgender people. While this may be something that comes up later, after establishing a friendship, it's typically not a good ice breaker.

Q. So do you like boys/girls/both? Does that make you gay/straight/bi?
A. First thing to mention here is that sexual orientation (preferred partners) and gender identity (self identity) are on completely independent dimensions. Some transpeople prefer men, others women, some prefer other trans or non-binary people, some identify as asexual while others prefer pansexuality or even polyamory. There are even more preferences beyond these mentioned which you can see a non-exhaustive list here to give further examples. The full gambit of options are available and there is never a way to predict across all people in the trans or non-binary communities.

This may not always be the best thing to ask when you first meet somebody though. While I am personally not bothered by it, I know many that are. How would you feel if you met someone for the first time and they asked if you were gay or straight?

The other thing to note here is that the definition of being gay versus straight is really quite subjective. While what I consider to be a 'straight' relationship with my boyfriend can be considered 'gay' in someone else's mind. Since I've not been concerned with labels (with more a focus on essence) it doesn't bother me that these word/categories break down. But I honestly believe many people have a negative reaction when their security blanket of labeled categories are threatened.

For example, imagine a straight cis-gendered (i.e. not transgender) person named Carl sees a girl he thinks is pretty cute and feels attracted to her in some way and asks her to lunch. During the conversation Carl finds out that she is a transwoman and immediately asks himself, "Does this make me gay?" See how quickly the gay/straight categorization breaks down?

Ask Me Anything

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I'm sure there are other questions out there that people may have and this is an open invitation to ask them! Feel free to ask me anything, the worst I can say is that I'm not comfortable answering that.

[Additional Disclaimer: I am only answering in regard to myself or what I have perceived of the community I've been exposed to. This in no way is an attempt to speak for everybody since each person has their own answers and comfort zones.]

Please don't respond with regard to LGBT being right or wrong, that belongs elsewhere.
This is solely with the goal of enhancing mutual understanding.

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