It’s 2014. It’s Transgender Day of Remembrance. For the last time, can the media please stop telling people they were “born men?”
You know who is “born a man?” This ugly Renaissance baby. He may be small, but I’m pretty sure he’s a tiny adult male.
You know who isn’t “born a man?” A trans woman. If we must insist on using this terrible grammar, she is actually “born a baby.”
She may use various phrasing to describe her early childhood — for instance, she may say she was assigned male at birth (AMAB). But she was not born a man, you guys. The headline news proclaiming that trans women were “born a man,” or telling us that trans women are “former men,” have got to stop.
It’s TDOR and we’re still dealing with “news stories” like this one about Michael Phelps’ girlfriend. Daily Mail, I know you never get anything right anyway, and there are just SO MANY PROBLEMS with this article, but while we’re at it, intersex is not trans.
Now that THAT’S out of the way…
- Learn more about TDOR’s origins on GLAAD’s website
- Go to TDOR.info to find a Transgender Day of Remembrance event happening tonight
- Learn more about the trans* umbrella
- Check out these great books written by trans* authors or featuring trans* characters (missing from that list is excellent nonfiction resource Trans Bodies, Trans Selves)
- And take a few minutes to read about and comemorate some of the people who died because they were trans* over the past year
This posted started out with a comic and a joke; perhaps it shouldn’t have. When I started writing it, I wasn’t even going to address the reality of TDOR head-on, just link to more information. Writing about tragedy is difficult, and it sucks to do. But TDOR is a day of remembrance.
The truth is, people are beaten and murdered and are victims of sexual violence and are driven to commit suicide simply because they are trans* or are perceived as such. This shouldn’t happen. We need to fight to keep it from happening. Educate yourself. Educate others. Be respectful. And above all else, be kind to one another.
And it might help, at least a little bit, if the gosh darn media stopped telling us that this or that trans woman was “born a man.” People are people, and they deserve our respect.
We all know this. The capacity for kindness is in all of us. We must do better. We must hold ourselves (and the media) to a higher standard. It starts with visibility, with education, with respectful language.
Let’s do our part, and just maybe, someday, the media will do theirs.