The Guardian, through a person named Fred McConnell who is described as a Trainee Digital Journalist and is apparently transgender, has proposed new guidelines it will use when writing about transgender people. Specifically, the guidelines, which The Guardian derives from the anti-woman organizations GLAAD and Trans Media Watch, specify that we accept, as truth that:
sex = biology, ie sex assigned at birth; gender = one’s innate sense of self.
Many women understand that gender is not, in fact, an “innate sense of self.” Rather, gender is a system that subordinates women. See this helpful graphic.
The Guardian further demands that we accept cisgender as an actual concept. According to Men’s Rights Activists, “cisgender” refers to those whose sex and gender do match. In other words, anyone not trans is cis. Given that no woman is cis and no woman has privilege over a man based on sex, this laughable concept does not withstand scrutiny.
The Guardian‘s guidelines follow; please note that The Guardian has apparently established what it views to be offensive and thus not appropriate for discussion. Apparently, this includes Women understanding what sex is and how we are oppressed based on our sex:
Transgender should be used as an adjective, shortened to trans after first use: transgender person, trans person. Never “transgendered person” or “a transgender”. (In the case of trans*, the asterisk represents a wildcard, ie any gender minority. Stick to transgender or trans in formal contexts.)
Now stop and consider whether it is actually relevant to state that this person is transgender. If so, always use the correct pronouns – how they present themselves publicly – and stick to neutral terms such as man or woman. Always use a person’s chosen name. Do not mention previous names without explicit permission and again, ask yourself whether it is absolutely relevant to the story. (ED. NOTE: So, for example, The Guardian would find it offensive to refer to Robert Kosilek as a man who killed his wife and then demanded a taxpayer funded sex change).
Whether discussing a person’s past, present or future, only use the correct pronouns for their gender. A person’s gender generally does not change. Public presentation may change in transition and secondary sex characteristics may change with the aid of hormones and/or surgery, but one’s sense of being either male or female is, in most cases, constant throughout life. (ED. NOTE: Why on earth is it important to honor a person’s beliefs in this context without any counterbalance as to how the honoring of this belief system hurts Women?)
Transition refers to the process by which someone alters their public presentation to match their gender identity. Everyone’s transition is different. Some consider transition to have a definite end point while others do not. Some live stealth (where their trans status is unknown to most people), others identify openly as trans their entire lives, and others fall somewhere in between. As with gender itself, transition exists on a broad spectrum.
Trans woman refers broadly to a someone assigned male at birth who identifies as female and vice versa for trans man. MtF means male to female, referring to transition, and FtM vice versa. As with much of this language, such terms are a matter of personal preference rather than objective definition. Where possible, ask an individual how they identify and in most cases stick to woman and man.
Genderqueer, genderfluid and other related terms also come under the transgender umbrella. In simple terms, they signify those who do not identify with the male/female binary but somewhere in between or outside it. Some use neutral pronouns, such as “them” and “they”.
Transsexual (adjective) is a medical definition, not a synonym for transgender, and should be avoided unless specifically discussing medical terminology and/or surgical treatment. It is (somewhat controversially) used to describe someone who undergoes sex reassignment surgery.
There are many varied and discrete surgical procedures. A person may opt for none, several or many. None of this is relevant to their gender identity, public life or, in fact, anyone besides the person they may or may not be in bed with. The irrelevance of medical procedures renders terms such as “pre-op” and “post-op” equally irrelevant and offensive.
The diversity of treatment and individual choices render the term “sex change” utterly nonsensical. It is also offensive and generally used purely to sensationalise. (ED. NOTE: If your sole claim to fame is that you got a sex change, you should expect to be asked about that.)
Though a distinct subject, it is worth mentioning that intersex refers to someone whose biological sex is ambiguous. An intersex person may or may not identify as transgender; however, the two terms are not interchangeable or indeed interrelated. “Hermaphrodite” is outdated and offensive.
The following are also offensive and should never be used unless in direct quotation: “tranny” (whether as a contraction of transsexual or transvestite), “shim”, “he-she”, “she-male”, “gender-bender”, “transsexual” as a noun and similar epithets. Never use terms such as deception, masquerading, fooling, or pretending.