Question Twelve: Is trans* the preferred term?

April 10, 2013 § 7 Comments

Sorry for the break – life being even more demanding than usual. Panel bios here – and onwards….

 

 

Question Twelve

 

I feel a little silly asking this but I’m wondering if trans* (with asterisk) is becoming the preferred term, or if there’s a specific framework for using it?

 

 

Natacha: “trans” with or without and asterisk seems to be the preferred term for most.

 

 

 

Naith: A lot more people are using it these days. I tend not to. It’s supposed to denote that “trans” is an inclusive and open category that encompasses all gender variant people – but I reckon trans on its own does that just fine. When I say trans, I mean all trans people.

 

 

Roz: Frankly, it’s a useful umbrella term which some people insist on and many of us forget about most of the time.

 

 

 

CN: I have to be honest from the start and say that I’m not a fan – it doesn’t translate to spoken language – and, grammatically, it does the opposite of what it purports to do. As far as I know (and please correct in the comments if wrong) it denotes a wildcard search term – so ‘trans’ followed by anything else – but ‘trans’ is already a prefix, so I don’t quite get it? In terms of usage, I’ve seen it mostly online, and particularly from people who have felt excluded from ‘trans’ by being ‘too different’ or ‘not trans enough’. Personally,  insisting on a non-exclusionary use of ‘trans’ is really important for me (because I’m one of those aforementioned people), which is why I don’t use trans* (old post here, which I would probably write differently now). As a ballast to all that negativity, here’s a positive blog about its use.

Advertisements

Tagged:

§ 7 Responses to Question Twelve: Is trans* the preferred term?

  • galadrielcrystal says:

    According to Wikipedia:

    “Transgender (pron.: /trænzˈdʒɛndər/) is a general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies to vary from culturally conventional gender roles.”

    I have read this article many times. It must be at least 5 years old, and I think it might be older, because I remember reading about this back when I was at university.

    After reading this article, I was happy to accept ‘transgender’ as an umbrella term that was distinctly different to ‘transvestite’, and other terminologies.

    I went through a phase of rejecting femininity, preferring to identify with the masculine and exploring what masculinity was about.

    Then, I went through a phase of exploring feminine identity and accepting my womanhood, female legacy and ancestry etc.

    Having explored both, I decided to reject gender altogether, at least in my head. I was happy to consider myself as trans, under this umbrella term. I have never heard of trans* before, but it is interesting.

    However, lately, personally prefer things like “queer”, “two spirit identity”, “gender neutral”, “pangender” maybe even “third gender” to describe myself.

    This could simply be because I am bored. I really like your 2011 article CN. That’s really how I feel about everything. That labels are kinda irrelevant to how we feel inside, that we should be creative with language, rather than letting it define us. That gender is kinda irrelevant, somehow.

    But I suppose if somebody wants to use us in a scientific study, or if somebody with less knowledge wants to understand or classify us, an umbrella term might help. Or maybe not, if it is limiting and not an accurate enough description of how we feel inside.

    Or perhaps more of an important function of an umbrella term is to unify. To create a community. Together we are stronger, even if we’re not quite all the same, at least under a banner of “trans” we can fight for “trans” issues. So in such a campaign, in order to educate the public about gender diversity, and the number of options that are out there, I can see that the poster on that person’s blog with “Trans*” would be really helpful and informative.

    Whether or not I would call myself “Trans*” on a regular basis is probably not. But then, I have nowhere to put it anyway, no way of recording it. Facebook don’t allow me to change my gender etc. so I just put “female” while telling myself in my head I am beyond gender. Gender neutral. The best of both genders merged into one, calling upon the unique qualities of each stereotype if I need to use them for something, like an actor in the play of life.

  • According to Wikipedia:

    “Transgender (pron.: /trænzˈdʒɛndər/) is a general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies to vary from culturally conventional gender roles.”

    I have read this article many times. It must be at least 5 years old, and I think it might be older, because I remember reading about this back when I was at university.

    After reading this article, I was happy to accept ‘transgender’ as an umbrella term that was distinctly different to ‘transvestite’, and other terminologies.

    I went through a phase of rejecting femininity, preferring to identify with the masculine and exploring what masculinity was about.

    Then, I went through a phase of exploring feminine identity and accepting my womanhood, female legacy and ancestry etc.

    Having explored both, I decided to reject gender altogether, at least in my head. I was happy to consider myself as trans, under this umbrella term. I have never heard of trans* before, but it is interesting.

    However, lately, personally prefer things like “queer”, “two spirit identity”, “gender neutral”, “pangender” maybe even “third gender” to describe myself.

    This could simply be because I am bored. I really like your 2011 article CN. That’s really how I feel about everything. That labels are kinda irrelevant to how we feel inside, that we should be creative with language, rather than letting it define us. That gender is kinda irrelevant, somehow.

    But I suppose if somebody wants to use us in a scientific study, or if somebody with less knowledge wants to understand or classify us, an umbrella term might help. Or maybe not, if it is limiting and not an accurate enough description of how we feel inside.

    Or perhaps more of an important function of an umbrella term is to unify. To create a community. Together we are stronger, even if we’re not quite all the same, at least under a banner of “trans” we can fight for “trans” issues. So in such a campaign, in order to educate the public about gender diversity, and the number of options that are out there, I can see that the poster on that person’s blog with “Trans*” would be really helpful and informative.

    Whether or not I would call myself “Trans*” on a regular basis is probably not. But then, I have nowhere to put it anyway, no way of recording it. Facebook don’t allow me to change my gender etc. so I just put “female” while telling myself in my head I am beyond gender. Gender neutral. The best of both genders merged into one, calling upon the unique qualities of each stereotype if I need to use them for something, like an actor in the play of life.

    • Bryn says:

      This is an old post, and it’s unlikely this will reach the original poster, but I wanted to say something about this for future readers. (Privilege note: I am white, IaoPoC please call me out if I fuck this up)

      If you’re white, it is appropriative and harmful for you to call yourself ‘two-spirit’ or ‘third gender’. ‘Two-spirit’ is specific to Native American/First Nations cultures, and was created in reaction to colonial imposition of an earlier derogatory term. ‘Third gender’ has a nasty history of use in anthropology to lump together and mis-describe cultures, and while people from cultures affected by that can reclaim the term, it is not OK for white people to do so even if the phrase itself seems innocuous (if meaningless outside a binary context: if there are many genders, which one is third?).

  • misswonderly says:

    I’ve never seen trans as an identity and this applies equally to trans*. Ironically … since the term cis only emerged to be contrasted with trans … for me trans only exists in response to cisgenderism … and cisgenderism is a flawed socially constructed view of gender. I think any discussion about trans or trans* needs rigorously turning back on cisgenderism.

    Our individual gender presentation and identity is what it is. Increasingly I’ve noticed an increase in the number of ‘cis’ people, who had previously not felt able/entitled to investigate their gender identity, who are now coming to realize this … Does that make them trans* because trans now has a wider definition. For example does this make Julie Bindel trans*? The answer surely is that gender is infinitely various … You might as well say everybody is trans* and everybody is cis*.

    As long as trans has currency in framing a political debate, it might as well be trans* but political debate about gender needs to be pushed relentlessly into the mainstream until it is no longer a debate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Question Twelve: Is trans* the preferred term? at a gentleman and a scholar.

meta

%d bloggers like this: