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how to talk about tgnb people and gender affirming surgeries

Appropriate ways to refer to a TGNB person

  • Transgender/trans woman

  • Transgender/trans man

  • Transgender/trans people

  • Trans masculine

  • Trans feminine

  • Non binary person

Inappropriate ways to refer to a TGNB person

  • Female-to-male

  • Male-to-male

  • MTF

  • FTM

  • Transgendered

  • Transgender* *Note: Transgender is an adjective, not a noun

If a trans person uses these terms to refer to themselves, that is absolutely appropriate and the language we use as self-identifiers should not be critiqued. However, for cis people or otherwise people who could not self-identify as one of these labels, it is insensitive and inappropriate to use these terms to refer to trans people collectively.


Talking about gender-affirming surgeries:

  • Don’t compare trans bodies to cis bodies

  • Don’t make derogatory comments about pre-, post-, or non-op bodies

  • Don’t call body parts “male” or “female” parts

  • A vagina is not a woman’s vagina, it is just a vagina, and so on

  • Don’t claim one surgeon/surgical team is better than all of the others

  • Don’t make derogatory comments about certain scars

  • Ex. “Phalloplasty arm scars look bad.”

  • Use “I” statements

  • Ex. “I don’t think I want a scar on my arm”

  • Don’t assume identity based on anatomy or desired anatomy

  • Not all people who get vaginoplasty are women, not all people who get phalloplasty are men, etc.

  • Don’t shame people for getting or not getting certain procedures

Remember: everyone is different. The wants and needs we as trans people have for our bodies vary greatly, and generalizations can be harmful.


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