Words that are transphobic and why

Check out this fantastic poster designed by Clinton Andor for UC Davis’ LGBT Resource Center.

transphobia poster
Click the image for a larger version.

I love this poster. It’s clear, straightforward, informative, and a good design. I want one! Hey Clinton/UC Davis LGBT Resource Center — poster fundraiser maybe?

h/t to Cy for the link.

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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Join the Conversation

  • scottishtanningsecrets

    Good poster. I was wondering, as a person who was born female and continues to identify as such, I’ve been curious about the process transgender people go through. How do I start a respectful dialog with transgender friends on the subject? What are some better alternatives to the questions on the poster?

    • http://feministing.com/members/inallsincerity/ inallsincerity

      This is a very respectful way to ask how to get started. First I would recommend wikipedia. The article under “transgender” is a pretty good primer. From there you can check the references or Google terms like “FTM 101″ or “transgender transition guide.” If you’re more interested in personal stories there are some FANTASTIC blogs by trans people where they have documented every step of their transition. There are several hundred of these on YouTube. Here is a directory of the FTM ones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EvyNgEQI3s If you’d like, you can start with mine: youtube.com/sillyyetsuccinct.

    • http://feministing.com/members/labonaconfitura/ Mònica Tomàs

      Hi! Have you read “the testoterone files: my hormonal and social transformation from female to male” by Max Wolf Valerio?

    • http://feministing.com/members/ellieheart/ Ellie Beth

      You don’t. The dialogue should not happen unless the person approaches you. It is not okay to assume somebody has transitioned – or at the very least, verbally assume it to somebody’s face. The best way to learn about the subject is go to a LGBT center and talk with somebody there – who is out about it. It is so easy to hurt somebody’s feelings and terribly triggering to just assume somebody has transitioned based on your assumptions about their body.

    • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

      I think the resources inallsincerity posted are a good start. As for your transgender friends, all people are different. Some people like to talk and share their experiences, raise awareness. Others may feel comfortable speaking with a trusted friend, and others still may feel that their experiences are personal things they’re not comfortable discussing.
      If you have transgendered friends, just be their friend. Hang out, talk, party, go to the movies, the things friends do. As with anybody else, you learn most about people by being part of their lives.

      I also had trouble accessing the larger poster, though it looks interesting.

  • http://cabaretic.blogspot.com nazza

    A great resource. I wish I saw it in more places.

  • http://feministing.com/members/labeatz/ Labeatz

    the magnified poster link doesn’t seem to be working anymore.

  • http://feministing.com/members/iliari/ Leanna Keyes

    As a transwoman, it frustrates me when people ask me my “preferred pronouns.” I see it as equivalent to asking a gay-identified person the sex of their “preferred partner.” It’s not a matter of preference at all, it’s a matter of what is appropriate. So, I would encourage you to ask for someone’s “appropriate pronouns” rather than “preferred pronouns.”

    • unequivocal

      I would personally be really hesitant to frame the question as “appropriate pronoun,” simply because it seems to generalize too much. “Appropriate” carries with it broad connotations (i.e., how should I address everyone in your position), while “preferred” puts the matter squarely in the hands of the person you are speaking to.

      Also, depending on emphasis, I fear that asking for your “appropriate pronoun” might come across as “no, what are you really?”

      This comment is emphatically not intended to dismiss your frustration with being asked about preferred pronouns, which certainly makes sense.

      This conversation also highlights the one element of the (otherwise excellent) poster that I am not fully in agreement with: the point under asking other’s about a trans person’s identity, where the poster says you should ask the trans person directly about their preferred pronouns. As you have highlighted, this can easily come across as offensive (and while your alternative of “appropriate pronouns” would obviously work well for someone speaking to you, I suspect that other trans folk might find that phrasing offensive). Consequently, I am much more inclined to ask a mutual acquaintance what pronoun so-and-so prefers.

      I guess I also worry that asking someone about their pronouns is too similar to calling them out on their (possible) trans status or gender ambiguity. Of course, this could be resolved if it was common practice to ask everyone how they wish to be addressed, but society still seems to be a long way off from that.

  • http://feministing.com/members/toongrrl/ Jessica “Jess” Victoria Carillo

    This is informative for newbies like me that need to get a clue about sexuality that they haven’t recieved from Public School or from conservative democrat parents (sorry Mom and Dad………..). It’s short, the design is catchy, and it’s very informative in explaining why these terms are transphobic.