Marti Abernathey

Words Mean Things: You've Been Transgendered!

Filed By Marti Abernathey | May 24, 2007 11:12 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Transgender & Intersex

When I hear "This is my friend _____ , she's transgendered", I cringe. It may seem innocuous, but using the word "transgendered" indicates that being transgender is something you have done to you. Imagine someone saying "this is my friend Andy, he's gayed" or "this is my best friend Betty, she's lesbianed." Like being gay and lesbian, being transgender isn't something that you have done to you, it's part of who you are. I'm proud to be of Irish, Scot, German, and native American descent. But I'd never say I'm "Irished and Proud."

But don't feel bad, even folks at the National Center for Trangender Equality have made the same mistake:


If you make the mistake it's not too big of a deal, but please try and remember to say transgender? There's a rumor that if you say "transgendered" too many times, the transgender fairy will visit you in the night and transgender you! It's just a rumor, but better safe than sorry. ;)

cross posted from

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But Marti - didn't you become "transgendered" after that drive-by transgendering? *grins*

Bruce Parker | May 24, 2007 11:18 AM

This was awesome.

Though much of the Barbara Walters special was to be commended, she really put a spin on the whole transgendered thing, when she kept saying so and so is a transgendered. That was strange.

I like the term trans myself, only I can see where that starts to exclude the mundanes from knowing what the hell I'm talking about.

You ought to read this. Blows what you said out of the water... with regards to not using the word transgendered.

It may be grammatically correct to say in certain situations, but in general it denotes exactly what I said, and it pathologizes us.

Bruce Parker II | June 2, 2007 11:07 AM

For what its worth - Pauline who "none" links to above is incorrect by my best estimation and Marty is without a doubt correct. "none's" objections aside.

The important thing to me isn't grammar, it's advocacy. If we continue to use words that make people think it's something that is DONE to you, then they'll think there is a treatment that can undo what was done.

hi, your blog was just pointed out to me by a friend. i appreciate your posting your story about going through an ex-transgender part of your life. i am interested in more of the finer points actually. was it specifically an ex-gay ministry that you were attending, or just a very conservative evangelical one? and, it also sounds like this was at a point where you had not yet decided to transition. (actually, i have no idea if you ever did transition physically... ). how does having gone through the ex-trans/gay process effect you now? and how your transition happened later, if you did transition physically/medically?

the reason i ask is because i have been in the process of getting in touch with JONAH, a similar but Jewish ex-gay group. however, my situation is different in that i am post-transition and do *not* identify as transgendered. recently events in my life have prompted me to wish that i could find some sort of cure... although it is unrealistic at this point (or any point).
but, i am still interested in hearing more about your experience if you feel up to sharing either in new posts or comments.

as far as this post on know, i do have to disagree. i think its really strange when people call themselves "a transgender". i think it seems a lot more appropriate to describe a person as being transgender (noun) or transgendered. for many people it is *not* like being gay or lesbian, it *is* something that happened to you not something that you are or identify as a peice of your person.