5 Questions Cis People Are Still Asking About Why Trans-Inclusive Language Matters, Answered

There are some common, often annoying, questions that cis people are still asking. In response , writing for everyday feminism, lists the questions and then explains why these questions may be viewed as annoying by trans people. Here are the opening paragraphs of this piece. Continue reading the questions and responses by following the link at the bottom of this post:

A group of colorful speech bubbles
Source: iStock

From the meteoric rise of Laverne Cox to Caitlyn Jenner’s high-profile coming out, I have no doubt that you’ve been encountering plenty of thinkpieces about transgender issues floating around your newsfeed lately.

If transgender issues are new to you, I’m sure the vocabulary and rhetoric surrounding the movement can be daunting at times. If you need a refresher course on which terms to use and what they mean, click here.

Far too many people run away from vital discussions that could change our society, because they are either afraid or weary of so-called “Political Correctness.”

I completely understand why others feel the urge to reject the idea of “Political Correctness” – when you feel like you can’t win, you don’t want to try.

Inclusive speech isn’t about being “Correct,” though. It’s about being respectful.

There are rules to trans-inclusive speech, but they have a purpose: to dignify transgender people.

The reason to care about using inclusive language comes down to the Golden Rule: Do you want to be treated with dignity?

I know I do. The desire to be treated with dignity is a large part of why I am a feminist. When you use inclusive language, you are treating transgender people with that same dignity that you want. Even if it means looking up some vocabulary words. And apologizing when you mess up.

Because, spoiler alert: You’re going to mess up sometimes.

Want to know a Feminist-Blog-Insider-Secret? When it comes to inclusive speech, everyone has messed up at least once. Even diehard activists. Even your favorite progressive stand-up comic. Even me.

It may be a cliche, but nobody’s perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, but what matters is what we do afterward. You have options. All is not lost.

You can apologize for the effect of your transgression. Beyond that, you can examine your biases and misinformation. The Internet is at your fingertips – educate yourself! Just like any other faux pas, you absolutely can put in effort to correct your mistake going forward. Making one mistake doesn’t brand you as a terrible person forever.

It all comes down to being thoughtful and respectful, which is why activists care about the language we use.

That’s a lot of work surrounding word choice.

It sounds obvious, but activists and allies care about the language used to discuss trans issues, because words carry meaning far deeper than just the conversation at hand.

Other writers have covered how to talk to and about trans people. Today, we’re going to unpack why it all matters.

Here are some common questions I’ve seen other cis people ask…

Read the questions and Maddie’s responses here at everyday feminism:


About Fairy JerBear

A disabled, trans/agender fairy bear living in the American Southwest and passionate about social justice, the environment, Trans/ LGBTQIA+ equality and combating bullying.
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