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View Diary: Male to Female in 3 Years: A Video (123 comments)

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  •  This pertains to a question of mine, as I have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril

    wondered how to talk about, say, gendered activities with someone who is now a different gender.  

    I'm never sure; on the one hand, I want to honor somebody who feels they were always the gender they present as now, and I'm happy to do that if that's their perspective.  

    On the other hand, if we're not close enough that I can ask if that's their perspective, then my impulse might be to mention, say, "John (who was Jane back then) was Juliette in the school play," or, (if someone doesn't know John and it's not relevant to the story), I might just say, "Jane was playing Juliette in the school play," and blah blah blah.  

    On the one hand, I don't want to erase John from his own past, or erase a trans person... on the other hand, I wouldn't say, "Jane, who came out as a lesbian in college, was playing Juliette in the school play," so it's not like it should be something that has to mentioned every time I mention John (or Jane).

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    by cai on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 07:05:01 PM PST

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    •  If the person has expressed a preference (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, elfling

      then you should follow that preference.

      If they haven't, it's a little more complicated. I think PFLAG suggests the approach elfling describes, but I really don't think that's great advice. The best thing to do is to ask. If you're not close enough to ask, the next best thing to do is to always respect the person's current preferred name and gender, even when that leads to weird-sounding things like "John played Juliet."

      I'd also caution you to avoid volunteering details that might reveal the person's history unless you know that your audience already knows about it. If you can't come up with a plausible, truthful explanation for how John came to play Juliet or Jane was the star runningback, just leave that out and speak in generalities.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 08:53:37 PM PST

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      •  Thank you for your help. (0+ / 0-)

        It does strike me as odd, a bit, to talk about someone at 15 as being a gender they did not claim until 25.  If I thought of John as Jane because that's how he was presenting when we were kids, and no inkling otherwise, then to my experience, he was a girl... even if that wasn't his experience.  At first blush it seems... almost dishonest?... for me to call him John when describing times when he was presenting as Jane.

        But, if it is more supportive and trans-positive to do a search and replace on names, I am willing to do that.  (Although I am likely to forget sometimes.)

        If you can't come up with a plausible, truthful explanation for how John came to play Juliet or Jane was the star runningback, just leave that out and speak in generalities.

        I was more thinking about someone who didn't know John (and hadn't known Jane), and therefore had no possibility of a negative response affecting John.  But I suppose I could just say, "The kid who played Juliet" (where did the extra t and e come from??), and let the audience draw their own conclusion.

        © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

        by cai on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 09:05:12 PM PST

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        •  Well, the problem is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cai

          that if you tell that story to someone who hasn't met John, it's still likely to stick in their minds (especially if you have the follow-up discussion about how John came to play Juliet). And then if they meet John, who looks like he could plausibly be trans, they're quite likely to make the mental connection and ask "Is it that John?" - and then John is outed to someone he doesn't even know. And this dynamic can even happen cross-country over things like Facebook.

          So if you want, as part of some bigger story, to specify details about John's past as a girl to someone who doesn't know John as a man, then you're probably better off talking about him as "Jane" and "her."

          If you're talking specifically about John to someone who knows him casually and relatively recently, or to someone who doesn't know him, you should almost certainly stick to "John" and "him" and avoid details that might out him.

          And if you're talking to a long-term mutual friend who has also known John in both presentations...it probably doesn't matter all that much, although I personally would prefer that everybody stick with my preferred gender and name.

          "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

          by kyril on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 09:20:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I hadn't thought of that, of the person going on (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril

            to meet John.  Good point.

            Or, I could do what I did in this post -- use pseudonyms.  :)

            And I certainly want to do what people prefer in regards to their names.

            © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

            by cai on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 09:32:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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