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Language of Identities

Language of Identities

rb.richx's picture

This is semi related to class and Serendip discussions that I wanted to ask everyone about as well as see if people had questions. I am assuming, given the intent and people's involvement in the 360 so far, that everyone wants to use inclusive and less harmful language, but also I at the very least would like some consistency surrounding the language we use.

I'm going to specifically talk about trans identities in this post as a starting point, but I figured, if I made a webby post, we could all comment or ask questions about any terminology surrounding any identity.

So, a question that Anne posted in regards to our Monday post: "... please do a posting, reflecting back on this week's discussion of Eli Clare-- applying what you have learned from his memoir to the current conversation on campus about the admission of trans women. I want you to think about the role that environment plays in creation of the self: what might be the effect, on transwomen, of being welcomed by BMC? what is the effect, on transmen, of being welcomed here? (Feel free to flip the question-- what might be the effect on the campus of a larger population of transfolk?)"

Part of Anne's question uses "trans women" and another part uses "transwomen", "transmen",  and "transfolk". 

In my experience as a trans person, the movement is away from "transwomen", or anything with an asterisk -- instead to use "trans women". The word transgender and cisgender are still single words, but we will have trans SPACE [insert gender]. This is for a few reasons, but one of the main things is that it de-genders people; transwomen looks as if it's a different category than women and takes away that trans is simply a modifier of their gender (so society sees "women" and has an assumption that it's cis women but when they see "transwomen" it's something different all together and those two categories don't overlap).  Some individuals do use "transwomen" (or other single-word gender term) but this should only be in relation to that individual and not groups as a whole.

I'm willing to hear from other people about this and could change my perspective! Again, I'm only speaking about my experience with the movement.

If other people would like to weigh in on this or other identity language, please add comments/webby post/etc! 












Thanks for this, Rhett--clearly, I wasn't quite caught up with this movement towards giving "space," so explicitly using "trans" and "cis" as modifiers--and appreciate the update. I'd glad you're also using this occasion to open up a larger conversation about language use--let's all keep sharing what we know, what we hear, what troubles us, as words arise.