For many people, family moments are about reconnecting with each other and letting them know what has been going on in their lives. Like everyone else, transgender people use these moments to come out to tier loved ones and reveal who they indeed are. Here we look at the questions not to ask if someone comes out to you.
If you recently learned that a friend or a member of your family is a trans person, or maybe they come out to you, and you do not know other trans people, it may be natural for you to be curious and tempted to ask how it’s like to be a trans person.
Asking a trans person about their experience may be a great way to have more profound knowledge about what it means. However, like everyone else, some trans may be open and willing to answer each question in their way, while others may not be willing to share private information about themselves.
Before You Pop the Question to Someone Who Comes Out to You, Consider
Because it’s natural to learn through asking, sometimes we do not consider whether someone is comfortable or would like to be asked particular questions. Personal questions about transgender can feel a bit invasive and may often make them feel pressured to disclose more information about themselves without their will.
The following are a few things that you would like to think about before asking the questions:
First, Why Do You Want To Know This Information?
The urge to know isn’t the matter, and so does asking questions. However, if you ask questions to satisfy your curiosity, it might be good to do your research on Google or other sources that can answer your questions.
However, you need to know how to address your transgender friend regarding their names and pronouns. By addressing people correctly, i.e., using their preferred names and pronoun, you will interact well and avoid putting them in an awkward position.
Secondly, Would You Be Comfortable if Someone Asks You The Same Question?
Put yourself in the shoes of the one being asked the question. Would you like to be asked the same question? For instance, if you ask them about the surgeries they have undergone or how their genital looks may be invasive and disrespectful.
Would you be willing to answer questions about your genitals or intimate surgeries performed on you? If the answer is yes, you should know that some people may not feel right with the questions.
Thirdly, Would You Ask These Questions To A Cisgender Person In A Similar Situation?
Before asking a trans person any question, ask yourself if you treat them differently due to their gender identity. Could you be asking irrelevant questions because they are trans? Can you ask for such detailed information from a cisgender person? You shouldn’t ask the same from a trans if you can’t.
Questions Not to Ask if Someone Comes Out to You
If you think that your friend is trans or they have come out to you, here are some questions that you shouldn’t ask since they can make them feel uncomfortable:
Are You Transgender?
Speculating or assuming someone’s gender by simply looking at them may feel uncomfortable to most people. If you ask if someone is trans, it may appear as a comment about a person’s appearance and character, which may be considered an offense regardless of whether they are.
The only way to determine whether someone is trans is by them coming out to you about it. Many non-trans people do not show physical features of how men and women are “supposed” to look. Also, some trans people have physical characteristics of how men and women are “supposed” to look.
What Restroom Do You Use?
This is a ridiculous question to ask when someone comes out to you. Trans people use the restroom for the same reason as anyone else: to release themselves and get back to whatever they were doing. Asking them about the restroom can be disrespectful or appear as if they must tell everything about themselves.
Trans people use restrooms that match their preferred gender. Trans women use women’s restrooms while trans men use men’s restrooms, so there is a probability that you use the same restrooms with trans people without your knowledge.
There have been cases of harassment towards trans people while trying to access restrooms. Transmen have been denied using men’s restrooms, while the same issues happen to transwomen. By asking a trans person which restroom they use, there is a probability that you may be reminding them of some harassment they had to endure.
Have You Been On Hormones? Don’t Ask this Question if Somone Comes Out to You
You want someone to disclose their personal medical information by asking such a question. Will you ask whether they are under any general medication, or are you only curious about hormone therapy for trans people?
Most trans people take hormones to align with their preferred gender. Some use testosterone to be masculine, while others use estrogen to be more feminine. These hormones have various side effects, similar to what teenagers go through during puberty. Showing interest in someone’s transgenderism only without being concerned with their general well-being may feel a bit invasive.
Are You Planning On Having Surgery, or Have You Had Surgery?
Most people are not comfortable sharing their personal medical history. So do trans people. Therefore, before asking such a question, you should be sure if it is of any importance or only want to satisfy your curiosity.
It is crucial to know that these surgeries could be costly. Some may not want to undergo them, while others may want to but can’t afford them due to lack of money or medical conditions. It may be an uncomfortable question to a person that needs the surgery but can’t afford it.
Remember, surgeries do not make you a man or a woman; the inside being does. Therefore, you must respect someone’s gender whether it aligns with their physical appearance or not.