Signal boosting: Back handed compliments for trans folk

Yeah yeah, two in a row. I’m busy.

James St. James has a piece on Everyday Feminism about four “compliments” you should never give to trans people:

1. ‘S/he Was Born a Wo/man? But S/he Is So Hawt!’

We’re going to refer to this as the Surprise Response.

The Surprise Response is the assumption that trans people are always identifiable as the freaks that they’re presumed to be and could never actually be mistaken 100% as cis (read: normal).


Also, this comment is a thinly veiled attempt to shield one’s own identity instead of trying to say something about the trans person in question.

Some manner of sexual binary-phobia is usually at play here, the speaker finding the trans person attractive, becoming startled by this fact, and then looking to cover it up with statements that reassert their heterosexuality (or homosexuality, since plenty of self-identified cis gays and lesbians have been not incredibly kind to the trans community

Having received all four–from healthcare professionals, even–I can certainly tell you that these are not only irritating to receive, but that they fit into a larger picture of excusing violence perpetrated against trans folk who don’t meet the criteria described in the article above.

So, uh, don’t do that.

Read the rest here.