Talking to a transgender person should be approached with the same respect and courtesy as talking to anyone else. Here are some guidelines:
- Use Correct Names and Pronouns: Always use the person’s affirmed name and the pronouns that they use for themselves. If you’re unsure, it’s okay to politely ask. Never use their deadname (the name they were given at birth and no longer use) or incorrect pronouns.
- Respect Their Identity: A person’s self-identified gender is the one that should be respected, whether or not they have undergone surgery or hormone replacement therapy.
- Don’t Ask Inappropriate Questions: Avoid asking about a transgender person’s body, surgical status, or sex life unless they’ve indicated it’s okay to talk about it. It’s inappropriate and invasive, much as it would be for a cisgender person.
- Don’t Out Them: It’s not appropriate to disclose a person’s transgender status to others without their explicit permission. Being outed can potentially put a transgender person at risk of discrimination or harm.
- Avoid Backhanded Compliments or Offensive Remarks: Comments like “You look like a real woman” or “I would never have guessed that you’re trans” can be offensive and hurtful.
- Listen and Learn: Be open to learning from the person’s own experiences with their gender identity and transition process. It’s better to listen and learn rather than assuming or stereotyping.
- Correct Misinformation: If you see others perpetuating harmful stereotypes or misinformation about transgender people, take the opportunity to provide correct information, if it’s safe to do so.
- Be Supportive: Transgender individuals often face unique challenges and discrimination. Offering your understanding, support, and acceptance can mean a lot.
Remember, every transgender person is an individual with their own experiences, preferences, and boundaries. Always treat them with the same dignity and respect you would want for yourself.