People can have all kind of reactions to finding out you’re trans. Because of this fact, I have often found myself in need of a scripted answer to offer when confronted with a question that makes me uncomfortable or is just unexpected. It is in this spirit that I humbly offer the table below. In it, I attempt to provide some scripts for common (and a few uncommon) questions and comments that people have asked regarding transition. This list is by no means exhaustive, and I would love to hear the weirdest question or comment you’ve heard regarding transition, or trans people. Simply shoot me a DM on Instagram, and while you’re there you can follow the TransJoy Media account to stay up to date on all the latest happenings.
|What was their/your name before transition?
|That’s not relevant.
|Unless the situation specifically calls for using the name that is on an ID no one should ask this about anyone.
|Is it rude to ask about someone’s deadname?
|Yes, it’s irrelevant.
|What’s in your pants?
|Your mom. What’s in yours? Or as above, that’s irrelevant.
|If someone has the audacity to ask you this, I would seriously consider leaving the situation immediately and avoiding this person as much as possible. This is an incredibly aggressive approach, and is likely indicative of a general disregard for your bodily autonomy.
|When did you know?
|My go to response is: “That doesn’t really matter; this is something that has always been a part of me whether I knew about it or not.”
|How much to reveal when answering this question is a personal preference, so consider your level of comfort around explaining your relationship to your gender before answering.
|Aren’t you too young/old?
|People are never too young or too old to know who they are.
|Please do not buy into the whole “Your brain isn’t developed until 25/26 years old” bullshit. This is a manipulation tactic commonly used to deny young trans people access to life saving care. You are NEVER too young or too old to know yourself.
|Are you sure you’re trans?/How do you know?
|Are you sure you’re cis? How do you know? Being trans is not a phase or trend. I am who I am right now in the moment, take it or leave it. I do not owe you an explanation.
|This question assumes that cis people are the default type of human, when there is no such thing. Trans people are just a slightly different type of person.
|Have you had THE surgery?
|If you want to be a smartass you can ask them which one? Or otherwise, you could say: “That is a personal question I am not comfortable answering. Please don’t ask anyone questions about their private medical history.”
|Are you planning on taking hormones/having surgery?
|“That is a personal question I am not comfortable answering. Please don’t ask anyone about their private medical history.”
|If you feel comfortable, and would like to discuss this topic then by all means, have at it. But I would like to point out that (in the U.S.) medical information is private. You have the right to keep the details of your medical transition between yourself and your medical providers.
|How should you refer to someone when talking about them pretransition?
|As a rule of thumb, please use the name and pronouns that people currently use to refer to them at any stage of their life. Only if you know that they prefer to be referred to differently, should you then call them anything other than the name and pronouns they currently use. If you don’t know, ask the person how they would like to be referred to in any given situation.
|If they are a genderfluid person, be sure you are asking them how they wish to be referred to at regular intervals, some people prefer to be asked as often as daily.
|Do you feel more masculine/feminine now?
|I have always been myself. I will continue to be myself, whoever that may be.
|How long are you going to be doing that for?
|Seriously, the fuck kind of question is this?
|Do they use stem cells for bottom surgery?
|No, it is unlikely that this will ever be possible.
|Don’t believe everything you read online.
|You only came out as trans because it’s trendy.
|Being trans is not a trend. I am who I am, and only now am I making other people aware of that.
|Testosterone will make you aggressive.
|There is more to it than simply ‘Taking testosterone makes someone more aggressive’. Taking hormones is an act of self-care regardless of what changes may or may not result from taking them. It is wrong to suggest that trans people who take testosterone will automatically be any more aggressive than your average cis person of a similar age.
|This is a possibility. Please read this information regarding side effects of T. For me personally, I saw an increase in reactivity when I first started. Things pissed me off easier. But since I have adjusted my dose slightly higher this has improved significantly. Inadequate T levels in any man can cause aggression. Also, this “T makes you aggressive” narrative is often used by parents to control their teenage trans masculine children because they couldn’t possibly control themselves while on testosterone. You know, the normal human hormone that everyone has in varying amounts. Ridiculous.
Complement this guide with an exquisite article about lessons we can learn from our queer ancestors! If you have more questions about transition, check out the TransJoy Media guide to researching the trans experience.