Get It Right

Trans folks are asking: What are the biggest misconceptions about trans people?

Even well-meaning cis folks make mistakes when it comes to being allies to trans people. Often, they believe in stereotypes or simply lack understanding of what being trans is like in reality. That’s why one user took to Reddit with a post titled, “What are the biggest misconceptions about trans people you’ve heard from allies?” The poster wrote they were developing a speech for their company for Pride Month to help their cis coworkers become better allies to trans folks. 

“I’m dedicating a part of my talk to tackling misconceptions about trans people, and since I’m only one person with one lived experience I want to ask you all — the community — for suggestions of what misconceptions I should debunk,” they wrote. 

Trans folks were quick to respond with the misconceptions they run into the most often in their day-to-day lives. Several pointed out that cis people don’t understand how impactful hormone replacement therapy can be, and how many physical changes trans people can go through without any surgery.

“‘So where did you go for your breasts surgery’ is an almost too common question,” wrote one commenter. “People get really confused when I say that I grew them myself.”

“I had a relative totally not understand that my breasts and hips are real (not padding or surgery),” agreed another.

That goes the other way, too — some things can’t be changed by HRT alone. “The idea that estrogen makes your voice higher,” for one, as another commenter pointed out.

Other commenters focused on the fact that every trans person’s story and identity is unique, so generalizations will always fall flat.

“That we’re a monolith — all understanding ourselves in the same way, all having known since we were 4, all wanting the same things out of transition,” one person commented.

“We’ve all got blue hair and are notably trans,” shared another. “I think it’s funny that there’s this huge shock though since supposedly trans people are loud and you can pick them out in a crowd… and they never pass (all misconceptions people have that are really untrue).”

Some folks focused on the nature of their trans identities, including whether being trans requires physically transitioning and how being nonbinary fits into the trans umbrella.

“Many people think transitioning is what makes you trans. So you chose to become trans by transitioning,” one person shared. “But trans people were always trans from birth. Transitioning just helps dealing with being trans.”

“That being nonbinary is political, and that it’s not ‘really’ transgender,” wrote another. “We are part of the trans community. Some of us transition physically and some of us don’t. We are trans because we feel that way, and because we are not cis.”

A final major theme was that trans people’s lives aren’t all about being trans — and beyond that fact, being trans is about so much more than struggle and dealing with transphobia.

“That we want to talk about being trans to random strangers at a bar,” one person commented. “Like, I’m just trying to eat, drink, and watch the NBA finals, not have a discussion about my life. I know people are curious, but we’ve had the internet too long for people to still be uneducated about a subject that they are curious about.”

“Hyper focusing on the struggles the trans community goes through sometimes can be a little misleading in the sense that the trans identity is being made into one and the same with hardship,” wrote another commenter (who noted they themself are a cis ally, not a trans person). “It’s important to acknowledge trans people can live happily, their trans identity is only one essence in the whole universe within them, and their existence does not necessarily revolve around conflict/struggle/pain and most importantly, it should not.”

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