When the hairstylist asked about my partner, I got to use female pronouns without feeling like I was breaking her trust in any way. I was strangely compelled to disclose my partner's transgender status, though. Why would I want to tack on some kind of modifier when identifying her as woman to a total stranger?
We've pulled together five of the most-watched TED talks from this year as voted by you, our loyal TEDWeekends audience. On the surface, they seem so different. But each speaker is an outsider spreading a common idea -- the best way to find courage in this world is to embrace your own, unique voice.
It might help for someone to talk with RuPaul and explain how many trans women really don't want to overcome their distaste for the slurs "tranny" and "shemale." As one who was slurred as a cover girl for the extremist Traditional Values Coalition back in 2008, I join in asking for simple respect and civility.
Manhood is an accomplishment, an internal need and quest, for both cis and trans men. When we acknowledge this, the necessity and intelligibilty of questions like "But how do you know?" fades away. Seeing this will help dismantle one of the structuring cultural approaches to transgender people: mistrust.
Eight months ago I pulled a bra out of the washing machine for the first time since breaking up with my college girlfriend and loudly coming out of the closet as a gay man a decade earlier. This bra belonged to someone I would have called my boyfriend a week earlier, before she came out to me as a transgender woman.