Words are a hot topic for many within the trans community. Some people insist on being called “transgender.” Others would take huge offense at being called that and prefer “transsexual.” Others would take offense at that, and want to be called… oh half a dozen other things. It can get very confusing very quickly as most people just expect you to know their preferred term, no matter how standard their preferred one is.
To help readers of this blog in that regard, here are the basic terms I use to describe myself, and what I mean by them.
I consider myself transgender because that is a general category covering a broad spectrum of cross-gender identification. I consider all transsexuals to be transgender, but not all transgender people are transsexual. In fact I believe the majority of transgender people are not transsexual.
I consider myself a transsexual because my inner sense of gender identity is, and always has been, female. I have never had a male gender identity internally, though I learned to express a male gender role socially. Whether or not I ever chose to transition I would still consider myself transsexual. To me being transsexual means my gender identity is the opposite of my anatomical sex.
Believe it or not, every one of the sentences in those brief definitions has been the basis for argument within the trans community. And that doesn’t even get into the sizzling hot “pronoun” debate.
In any case, this blog is going to be a semantics-war neutral zone. I just laid out how I use the terms. Feel free to agree or disagree. But let’s not make a big deal about it.
As long as people aren’t intending to be insulting, I’m not going to get hung up on the terminology they use. I might be gently corrective if I think someone is using a word incorrectly. But unlike some other blogs I’ve encountered I am not going to go off on rants about why someone is an icky-poo, stinkyhead for implying that I’m transgender instead of transsexual. Or vise versa. Or some other obscure variation I made up just to have something to feel aggrieved about.
UPDATE: Even when I try…
I am reliably informed that polite people no longer use the word “transgendered,” any more than we use the terms “lesbianed” or “gayed.” The convention is now supposed to be transgender, without the -ed at the end. I have corrected the terms in the above post, but don’t fret if you slip an -ed in there with me. I did it myself.
Now I know how negro, er… I mean black, er… I mean African American people (or is it now people of color?) feel. If even we can’t agree on our terms, how can the rest of the public be expected to keep up?