Social progress, with a concomitant increase in visibility, brings the need for that community to adapt in order to make further progress. A recent case in point is the politically correct backlash from some in the trans community directed toward Sarah Silverman and the equal-pay video from the National Women's Law Center last week.
As a young trans girl growing up as a yeshiva boy in Queens, New York, I found that this play resonated deeply within me. The eponymous Yentl, who goes by the name Anshel as a yeshiva boy, challenges the gender norms of that extinct European world of the Jewish Pale and its predominantly Orthodox Jewish communities.
Puberty suppression for gender-dysphoric adolescents has only been around since the late 1990s. The Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria at Amsterdam's VU University pioneered this approach, and their recent online publication of a longitudinal study in the journal Pediatrics offers insights into how some of these kids fare.
Last Thursday at the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta, HRC President Chad Griffin apologized for all the problems between HRC and the trans community for which HRC had been responsible over the years. He was specific and demanded to be held accountable. These are words the trans community has never heard before from HRC, certainly not in public.
Last week my friend, Professor Jenny Boylan of Barnard College, penned an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times entitled "Trans Community Can Change Minds by Changing Discourse." She uses the promotion of marriage equality as the gay analogue to what the trans community now needs. With all due respect, I think she's got it backwards.
"Cis" and "cisgender" certainly have a proper place in academia and are likely to be used there for a long time, given how their use has steadily increased. They are also increasingly used in non-LGBT progressive circles as part of policy and sociology discussions. Outside these contexts, however, neither word does us much good.
A 16-year-old transgender girl spent 77 days alone in a Connecticut prison without ever being convicted of, or even charged with, a crime. Known publicly as "Jane Doe" because she is a minor, she sat alone in the York Correctional Institution, a high-security prison in Niantic, Connecticut, for two and a half months.
I would like to propose that when we see each other, when we greet each other, when we congratulate or debate each other, we do it all with great kindness; that no matter what we believe to be true or not true about words and the meanings behind them, we refuse to use any form of language that might be even remotely jarring to someone's spirit.
In February 2014 Queerty, the online magazine and newspaper focusing on gay topics, ran a piece titled "Seriously Sexy Trans Men Make Us Say 'Mmmm!'" What's interesting and horrid about the article? The comment section, which displayed the pervasive lack of understanding of transgender identities within the gay community.