Trans*forming the Dialogue: First Voices

In our newest campaign Trans*forming the Dialogue, we reached out to people who identify as transgender and transgender allies to help us by offering their perspective on how we can positively shift the conversation around the trans experience. Many leading voices contributed their answer to the following prompt:

  • What are 2 – 3 questions (or as many as you like) that one should NOT be asking a transgender person?
  • What are 2 – 3 questions (or as many as you like) that one SHOULD be asking a transgender person?

These responses are the heart and soul of our campaign. With several submissions and more on their way, the following are the “first voices” of Trans*forming the Dialogue. We ask that you read, comment and share these submissions to help promote the work that our collaborators are doing to spread awareness and understanding.

Interested in being a featured voice? Answer our prompt on your blog, send it to cingrao@socialwork.simmons.edu or mdottermusch@socialwork.simmons.edu.

Choice Quotes

Trans people are often asked questions that are offensive or inappropriate. This isn’t the fault of the cisgender person: it’s the fault of our society for not providing education on how to ask trans people about our identities and bodies.

– Trans Student Educational Resources

Questions that are never appropriate are, “Have you had any surgeries yet?” “What are you going to do about your beard?” “Do you think you will be able to pass?” Or anything else related to their bodies and their appearance.

– Janitor Queer

Trans people are just people. Like everybody else, we want to be treated with respect. This is sometimes hard to come by, especially for those who are visibly gender-nonconforming. The greatest gift you can give is kindness and a little bit of your time.

– Man Today Blog

This is the basic question every trans* ally needs to ask of themselves, and then once they’ve committed to changing the world for the better, they need to make sure to check in with actual trans* people.

– The Catholic Transgender

Even though I am transgender, I am still learning things about myself, and the things I am comfortable talking about. What works for me does not work for everyone. But the most important thing is that we have a dialogue with people about being transgender.

– Crossing T’s and Dotting I’s

It is less about the questions we should be asking and more about the conversations we should be having. Some of the biggest issues we should be talking about facing the transgender community are: unemployment, homelessness, and poor medical coverage.

– Gabrielle Hermosa, My Cool Diverse Life

Why ask yourself questions about gender as part of a campaign to promote education about transgender youth and adults? Because wherever you fall on the gender spectrum, you have a gender story.

– Gender Spectrum

Bathrooms are not only for cis people. Cis people often seem to be under the mistaken assumption that part of the conditions of trans-ness is that we never actually need to use the bathroom.

- Adrian Ballou, Everyday Feminism

#TransDialogue Tweet Chat

Many leading voices also contributed to a virtual conversation about Trans*forming the Dialogue. We wanted to share the perspectives of the transgender and trans allied community in front of the entire Twitter network. Click here to see a summary of the #TransDialogue Chat.