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in a web of glass, pinned to the edges of vision

question for the transgendered/pro-transgendered folk among you

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

mucha mosaic

question for the transgendered/pro-transgendered folk among you

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Just was talking to a coworker about Patrick Califa- and the occasion came up to say 'what Patrick talks about now is not the same as what Pat talked about before'. For those of you who don't know Patrick Califa at all, he used to be a lesbian author named Pat Califa.

I kinda fumbled what I was trying to say around in my mouth, and realized why, finally. I'm not sure as to what the answer is to this question, and I know there're trans and trans-friendly folks here, so please, bear with my uncertainty.

Is it more polite-and-proper to say (as a f'rinstance) 'he wears gimme caps from trucking companies now, which she didn't used to do', or 'he wears gimme caps from trucking companies now, but didn't used to when he was a woman'- or is there another option that's not crossing my pea-like brain?
For some reason, Miss Manners is a bit lax on addressing this one, and it occurs to me that there's bound to be some emotionally sensitive content around this.
  • In my own manners research, I haven't found a hard-and-fast rule, other than to always refer to a person by the appropriate-to-presentation pronoun.

    As for the 'he used to be she', I think it should be considered much as one would consider when 'outing' a person as queer or kinky; don't do it in public unless they're public about it. Patrick Califia is quite publicly open about having formerly been Patricia (although you can, with authors, also say 'when writing as Patricia', or "when recording as Walter Carlos', which leaves it up to interpretation as to whether they transitioned or just had a nom de plume). But if Jane is not openly trans and was not publicly known ever as having once been male, it might be rude to 'out' her to anyone else as formerly being Jason; in which case, I'd stick to Jane, and not tell that funny story about Jane's Prince Albert piercing from your college days. When in doubt about the past, stick to the present or chosen gender; these decisions aren't made overnight, and not everyone is able to choose to present as they'd wish.

    I know one trans person who declared her previous self and gender to be dead, and threw a wake. She is quite clearly a different person now; I would, if I needed to, make vague reference to "when I knew you way back when", but not by name or gender.

    Also, it is always okay to ask politely which gender or label a person prefers, which is helpful for people whose gender is a bit indistinct (especially if you've met them online). [Persons of nonstandard gender should be prepared to answer this question politely, as it's meant to honor their choices of pronoun rather than risk accidental insult. If you feel your preferred choice of gender or pronoun should be obvious, then drop more hints.] After all, it should be obvious to them that saying "This is Robert; he and I used to work together at the radical lesbian magazine" can, er, engender awkwardness (although that one's crying out for a good joke).

    I would love to hear what tranny_please has to say on this one.
  • Well, I threw the question at 'em, we'll see what they have to say.
  • Got a TERRIFICALLY good hook to hang the how-to of what's polite on, over on trans_advice, and a lot of good perspective on what various people on the inside of this question feel.
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