So while I have known I was transgendered for a long time I only came out a short time ago. In that short time I have learned a lot, and so have my friends, family and allies. There is an entire set of terms and politically correct language for our community. For those trying to be sensitive fopas are bound to happen. So this post is for you.
The entire community acronym is now LGBTQQIP2SAA. If you are a friend, family member or supporter of someone who is transgendered see that second A. That stands for allies and that A is for you. Welcome to the community...noob. Now let's get acquainted with the terms.
First let's cover that alphabet soup above:
Now on to the T. The correct term is Transgendered. Transexual was at one time an appropriate term but is now outdated. This is partly because people misunderstand the difference between sex as in your genetic sex and sex as in S.E.X. That naughty word we don't talk about. There is a difference between sex and gender. Sex is used to denote your genetic sex assigned at birth and gender is used to represent the way you feel or your soul if I can take that liberty.
So here's a list of words that we don't really care for (of course there are exceptions). Tranny, T girl, shemale, lady boy or boi, sissy, he/she. All of these are widely accepted as derogatory terms. You may find someone with thick skin who is not offended, however, to the community at large these words are offensive.
If transgender refers to people who's gender and sex are different then maybe you are wondering what the word is for people who's gender and sex match. the term is cisgender.
Is there a clinical term for being Transgendered you ask? The term associated with transgendered persons is gender dysphoria. A quick trip to Google gives us this definition. "Gender identity disorder is a conflict between a person's physical gender and the gender he or she identifies as. For example, a person identified as a boy may actually feel and act like a girl. The person is very uncomfortable with the gender they were born." This is a psychological term recognized in the ICD-9 manual.
When a person has surgery to change their sex the term is sex reassignment surgery. The term sex change is generic and not generally accepted anymore. It's fairly rude to discuss a persons sex organs unless they invite the conversation. Very seldom do you go to your cisgender friends and say "hey bob, how's your penis doing today." Why would my sex organs be any different? They are called privates by our kids for a reason.
The media and television are often guilty of breaking many of these rules. It's common for news outlets to cover a story about a trans person and mention things like "when she was a man" or to simply refer to a trans woman as "he". Transgendered people value their pronouns and while you may make mistakes it means the world to them when you use the correct ones. If you want to talk about their past you can say things like "before your transition" or " before you came out".
It bears mentioning that gender identity and sexual orientation are mutually exclusive. You can have 3 transgendered women; one may be attracted to men, another to women and the third to both. A persons gender identit does not have bearing on who they will be attracted too.
This last note is to those who are transgendered. People are going to slip up. Others are simply uneducated. While we all wanted to be treated with respect, a militant stance is not always the answer be understanding and take athe time to educate and make allies. Feel free to use this post as a starting point.