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    The Transgender Language Guide

    If you’re new to the transgender community, you may feel as if you’re walking on eggshells, afraid you’re going to say the wrong thing and offend someone. This is normal and happens to everyone. The last thing you as a new ally want to do is make a bad impression.

    This guide aims to teach non transgender people how to write and talk about the transgender community and their experiences in a respectful way.

    How do I use 'transgender' in a sentence?

    TransgenderAdjective: Someone who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.

    “Transgender” is an adjective, it is describing a kind of person.

    Trans people typically use Identity First Language. This means saying things like “transgender person” instead of “a person who is transgender.”  

    “Trans” is a shorthand, informal way of saying “transgender,” which is more formal.

    • My friend Sarah is transgender.
    • He is transgender
    • Jessica is a trans woman.
    • My friend John is a trans man.
    • Jake is a trans man
    • John is transgender and suffers from Gender Dysphoria.
    • The transgender community faces a lot of discrimination.
    • My friend Sarah is a transgender.
    • He is transgendered.
    • Jessica is a transwoman
    • My friend John is a female to male transgender
    • Jake is an FTM trans man
    • John has transgenderism
    • Transgenders face a lot of discrimination.

    Why “transgender” and not “transgendered”?

    Adding “ed” to the end of a verb turns it into past tense. Transgender is not a verb. It’s an adjective, it describe a type of person. It would be similar to saying “blacked man” “reded car” “talled person” 

    When is it appropriate to use someone's birth name?

    A trans person’s birth name or “dead name” should never be used unless the trans person explicitly says otherwise. Even when referring to them in past tense. You should always use the person’s chosen name and pronouns.

    Some exceptions:

    • Some trans people may not be out to certain people in their lives. So they may ask you to use their dead name and incorrect pronouns around certain people until they come out. 
    • Letting someone know (with permission) the individual came out and is going by a new name. For example “Bruce Jenner just came out as trans, she changed her name to Caitlyn”

    How do I refer to a trans person before they transitioned?

    Some may be confused on how to refer to a trans person when talking about them prior to them coming out and transitioning. It’s best to ask the individual, but most trans people prefer to be called by their chosen name and pronouns even in past tense.

    • Before Sarah came out, she would dress up as a princess for every Halloween
    • Back when Pete was little, he loved playing soccer
    • When Sarah use to be Steve, he would dress up as a princess for every Halloween
    • When Pete was a little girl, she used to love playing soccer

    How do I describe a trans person?

    It’s rare that you will ever need to specify what sex someone else was assigned at birth. It’s not recommended to ever give that information out to someone without permission from the trans person themselves.

    If you ever find yourself in a situation where the information is absolutely necessary, this is the best way to word it.

    • Sam was assigned male at birth and identifies as agender

    • Jake, who is a trans man, was assigned female at birth

    • Heather has felt she was a woman since she was 4 years old

    • Trans people don’t identify as the gender they were assigned at birth

    • Joe is starting his medical transition

    • Hannah just came out as trans
    • Sam is biologically male, but identifies as agender

    • Jake was born female and transitioned to male

    • Heather has felt she has a girl’s brain in a boy’s body

    • Trans people feel as if they were born in the wrong body

    • Joe is getting a sex change

    • Hannah just decided she’s trans
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