Franchesca: Hey, friends, it’s transgender awareness week, so we have a very special guest. She’s an incredible illustrator and trans activist with some of the best hair on YouTube. The one and only Kat Blaque.
Kat: Hey there, this is going to be fun.
Franchesca: This year has been huge for trans visibility, with celebs like Laverne Cox, Jamie Clayton, and most recently Caitlyn Jenner making headlines and gracing magazine covers.
Kat: Visibility is awesome because it helps shed light on the issues that trans people face and inspires trans youth who may be struggling with their identity.
Franchesca: There are still lots of people who aren’t so progressive when it comes to talking about trans people and trans issues. With the holidays coming up you could end up having some slightly uncomfortable conversations around the dinner table.
Kat: Don’t worry. We’re here to help. Here are eight comebacks for transphobic relatives over the holidays.
“I just don’t get it. Men are men and women are women. It’s just biological.”
Whew. Okay, here’s some gender 101. You need to know the basics on two terms. Transgender describes someone whose gender identity differs from the sex doctors mark on their birth certificate, and cisgender or cis is someone who’s gender identity lines up with the one that they were assigned at birth.
Franchesca: “Caitlyn Jenner. No way, I’m still calling him Bruce.”
Respecting a trans person’s name isn’t so much to ask. I mean, sure it might take a little getting used to but her name is Caitlyn now. Say your friend Jessica said she wanted to go by her middle name. I don’t think you’d really challenge her on it.
Kat: “Okay, whatever. I still don’t want men in the women’s bathroom. I mean someone could get raped.”
First of all, trans women aren’t men. Last time I went into the men’s restroom dudes just thought I was in the wrong restroom.
I don’t know about you but I don’t really think about the genitals of a person who’s peeing next to me. That’s kind of weird and private. There’s also really no reason for single-stall restrooms to be gendered.
When it comes to rape, if a man wanted to sexually assault a woman no trans law is going to stop them. Plus, there are more cases of trans women being on the receiving end of violence in the restroom.
Franchesca: “But, here’s what I want to know. Has he had the surgery yet? Does he have lady bits?”
Well, what surgery someone has or hasn’t had isn’t my business or your business. Trans bodies are not public domain and trust me, if that person wanted you to know, they’d tell you. Worry about your own genitals, please.
Kat: “There’s a girl I know from high school is transitioning to be a man, but I have a feeling that she’s just a lesbian.”
Well, some trans people are gay. Sexuality and gender identity aren’t the same thing. Sexuality is who you go to bed with, and gender is who you go to bed as. Plus, you can’t really tell somebody’s sexuality or gender by how you perceive them. Unless you’re trying to holler, why do you care?
Franchesca: “You’re not a man or woman? Then what the heck are we supposed to call you?”
If you don’t know someone’s pronouns using “they” is a really save bet. I usually hang back and listen to how my friends and family refer to them before inserting pronouns into the conversation; however, sometimes it’s just best to ask.
A simple, “What are your pronouns” can go a really long way. Remember, some pronouns are preferred and some are nonnegotiable.
Kat: “They. People actually go by they? That’s not even grammatically correct.”
We actually use singular they all the time. When someone cuts you off in an intersection you’ll usually say, “They cut me off.” They can be singular. It’s not that big of a deal. Besides, grammar isn’t really a good excuse to disrespect someone.
Franchesca: “You know what, Caitlyn makes a pretty hot lady. I wouldn’t even know she wasn’t a woman.”
Well, she is a woman. Look, I realize, “Wow, I had no clue they were trans,” or “He looks better than I do,” is meant to be a compliment, but trans folks don’t need assurance that they look cis. Trans people come in all shapes and sizes and some people want to pass and some don’t. Both are valid.
Kat: Hopefully you’re able to use these comebacks this holiday season or any time of the year.
Franchesca: Have you ever encountered these kinds of questions? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to check out Kat Blaque’s channel. Don’t forget to subscribe and we’ll see you next week right here on Decoded.
Franchesca & Kat: Bye!