LGBT 21 Things Not to Say to a Trans Person  

Devon Ashby
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With the explosion of interest over Caitlyn (born Bruce) Jenner, and the rise of trans celebrities like Laverne Cox and Janet Mock, transgender visibility is at an all-time high. But what happens if you actually encounter a transgender person in real life? How should you act? What should you say? Are there questions you should never ask a transgender person? Is being trans the same thing as being a drag queen? Is being transgender the same as being a transvestite, or a transsexual? What's all this about "correct pronouns" anyway? This is all so stressful!

Luckily, this list is here to help you out. There are plenty of things you should never say, words you should never use, and questions you should never ask when you're around a transgender person. Just because you don't know all the rules yet doesn't mean you're a jerk, but a little preparation goes a long way toward making sure you don't accidentally look like one in the future. The most important thing to remember is that trans people want to be treated and spoken to like anybody else - with friendliness, respect, and about subjects that don't constantly revolve around what their genitals look like, what plastic surgery they've had, or what medications they're currently taking.

Below are a few questions and topics of conversation you should probably avoid when speaking to a transgender person - especially someone you just met, or haven't had the chance to get to know very well.
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"What's Your Real Name?"

"What's Your Real Name?&q... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 21 Things Not to Say to a Trans Person
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Their "real" name is the one they just gave you. If they once had a different one once, that's their business.
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"When Did You Decide to Switch Genders?"

"When Did You Decide to Sw... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 21 Things Not to Say to a Trans Person
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Trans people didn't just "decide to switch" - they were assigned the wrong gender at birth.
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"I'm Impressed - You Look Just Like a REAL Woman!"

"I'm Impressed - You L... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 21 Things Not to Say to a Trans Person
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Hey, guess what? Trans women are "real" women, and trans men are "real" men.
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"Have You Had the Operation Yet?"

"Have You Had the Operatio... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 21 Things Not to Say to a Trans Person
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Most people don't enjoy being pressured to talk to you about their genitals. Trans folks especially.
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