Members of the Cardiff university trans* community have come to commemorate TDoR, or Trans*gender Day of Remembrance. Here are a collection of anonymous pieces, written with the aim of fostering understanding of the event and the community at large.
TDoR is an opportune moment for Trans* people to share their experiences and let you know exactly how the community would like to be treated. Obviously it does vary from person to person, but until you really know someone and they tell you otherwise, here are some good tips to follow to ensure you’re respecting everyone. One thing to remember is that trans* people are just that – people! Although there will no doubt be sensitivities surrounding certain topics of conversation, overall they are just like you or me. So treat trans* people as you would anyone else; with respect!
Every trans* person takes a different transition path. Many may choose to live without any kind of medical or surgical intervention, this does not make them any less of a man/woman/other. Transition is not as simple as a ‘sex change operation’, so please refrain from using that term. You do not need to know how someone is transitioning, what surgeries they have or haven’t had unless they are happy to tell you. Many surgeries will leave scars. If a trans* person decides to show you their surgery results do not pass negative comments about their scars. Scars fade, your words might not.
If a trans* person discloses their trans* status to you then you must never tell someone else about it. A lot of people prefer to live without others knowing their medical history and it is not your place to tell other people about it. It is 100% up to the trans* person about who they tell and how much the tell them. You must respect their choices about who they tell. Outing someone can cause a lot of issues for the person, some of which you may have never even realised. If you don’t know if someone knows, assume they don’t.
If it comes to your attention that I am trans* then please don’t ask me what my ‘real’ name is. My real name is the name you use to address me on a day to day basis, what you are looking for is, previous name or birth name. If I decide to tell you what it is then you should never use it or talk to me about it unless I say it’s ok, if I don’t tell you what it is then please respect that it is from a part of my life I don’t want to talk about.
It is never ok to ask a trans*person about their gentitals. Ever. You should not ask people what sex they were assigned at birth, what they currently have in their pants or any questions relation to their sexual organs. Think about a question before you ask it, if it was addressed to you and you think it would make you feel uncomfortable then it is never ok to ask someone else that question too.
If you are unsure on what someone’s pronouns are then ask, do not just guess, people are happy to tell you their preferred pronouns. If you accidentally use a wrong pronoun, correct yourself, apologise and move on. Never argue with someone about what pronouns they use, or say that their pronouns aren’t real, or that they’re too hard for you to use. If you don’t know how to use someone’s pronouns, ask them how to. Pronouns are very important to many trans*people and using the correct ones makes a huge difference.