Snarky answers to invasive questions transgender folks get asked way too often

There are a bunch of presumptuous questions that transgender people get asked all the time by folks with no business asking about our personal lives. Many of them are based on acceptance of the compulsory gender binary and the belief that the gender we were assigned at birth is our “real” gender. Asking such questions without permission packs the dehumanizing and othering assumption that transgender folk have a responsibility to educate cisgender folk. Being in the position to be educated about someone else’s identity is a form of privilege, as those with the most power are not asked to explain their life experience since it has been posited as the norm.
Getting asked inappropriate questions framed in a way that completely erases one’s identity over and over again can get incredibly exhausting and frustrating. That’s why I absolutely love the below video, “2 Hot Transsexuals Finally Give Some Answers!” Charles and Red respond to a number of these questions in a hilarious way that reveals the problematic assumptions that go into asking them in the first place. My personal favorite answers are to the question “Are you a man or a woman?” but it’s all fantastic.
This isn’t meant to imply that cis folks shouldn’t try to learn more about trans issues, but there’s a difference between learning about a group’s experience and concerns and asking about an individual’s personal life. There are limits to what’s appropriate – being trans doesn’t mean we don’t have boundaries.There’s a better way to go about educating yourself without making members of the community you’re trying to understand feel like crap in the process.

“Who’s your pronoun!”
h/t to love-and-organizing at Amplify.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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