Riki Wilchin’s short list of things not to say to a transsexual pokes fun at those who don’t understand trans-culture, but there are definite truths with every number on that list. While I was reading I found myself thinking, “Oh God. Have I ever said anything offensive to a trans-person and not been aware of it? Have I completely perpetuated an ugly cycle of vicious bullying and ignorance?”
Although I can’t remember ever saying any of the things on that list, I certainly hope I haven’t, and I make more of an effort everyday to be conscious of the way I speak. Lately what is and is not politically correct in our society seems to have more yellow tape than ever. Celebrities and politicians apologize every other day for something they said at some conference somewhere that offended some group somewhere else. When our language and use of words is so important, I think it’s vital that people learn the appropriate terms, myself included.
I think a lot of it stems from some people genuinely being confused about the terminology, and unfortunately a lot probably also comes from those who refuse to accept or learn about trans-people. Even writing this post, it makes me wonder if I may have already said something wrong. Whether or not I’m paranoid, you can’t deny that the way we speak to each other and about each other directly affects the way we think. There is a reason that the n-word is inappropriate, there is a reason that we don’t use racial slurs when discussing people of different backgrounds. I think an open discussion of what is and is not political correct when talking about transsexuals would greatly help the trepidation that some people feel, and in turn, help them understand and eventually accept the trans community on a wider scale.