Don’t Ask a Trans Person ‘How Were You Born?’ — Here’s How to Learn Without Causing Harm

The words a person uses to describe their experiences and identities are incredibly important — perhaps more important than the words used by others.
Word usage is often discussed in reference to what’s acceptable or politically correct.
But the words someone uses to comfortably and safely convey information about who they are aren’t a matter of preference, opinion, or debate.
They’re matters of respect, dignity, and human rights.

‘How were you born?’ is the wrong question

When it comes to understanding transgender identities, it’s important to recognize that affirming someone’s gender is about seeing and treating them as who they are.
It shouldn’t be viewed through the lens of the body parts they were born with.
Practically speaking, trans people are born the same way all other humans are born and have been a part of humanity throughout all of history.

If you’re unsure about how to refer to someone, it’s OK to ask the name they’d like you to use and how they’d like you to refer to them.
If you’re a medical professional seeking to understand aspects of a person’s anatomy or biology, ask yourself whether this info is truly relevant or necessary given the circumstance. Exercise sensitivity and intention around consent and the language used when addressing these topics.
Remember, you don’t have to fully understand or agree with someone’s gender in order to interact with them respectfully. And asking “how were you born” is never a respectful question to ask a trans person.

Then why are some people trans and not others?

Researchers haven’t yet identified exactly where in the brain gender identity lives and what “causes” a person to be transgender.
That said, many historical accounts and extensive literature demonstrate that trans and nonbinary people have been in existence for centuries, across many cultures.
The point in time and development when someone comes to know and understand their gender identity can vary from person to person. It’s dependent upon a number of different developmental, cultural, and social factors.
Generally speaking, some people know their gender at an early age, while others need more time to understand this aspect of their identity more fully.
This is true for both trans people and people who identify with their designated sex at birth (which is known as cisgender).



By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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