If Transgender People Talked Like Cisgender People

A new video from BuzzFeed Yellow explores what would happen if transgender people said the stuff cisgender people say to them all the time. The role reversal highlights just how intrusive and absurd many of these common comments are, from asking trans people about their “real” names to inquiring about intimate details of their private lives. You might argue that some of the cisgender people who make these types of comments are simply ignorant or curious, and that they aren’t trying to be disrespectful. And that’s probably true — many people are still learning how best to be trans allies (Here’s a guide to get you started!). But however well intentioned some of these remarks may be, they’re still rude.

By creating a role-reversal and redirecting the comments normally given to trans people to cisgender people, this video highlights how insensitive they are, and implicitly asks, “You wouldn’t say this stuff to a cis person, so why would it be OK to say it to a trans person?” Most of this should go without saying, but I’m going to break it down anyway: To ask someone — anyone — for his or her “real name” (as opposed to the name he or she gave you) is to imply that the name he or she is using is somehow illegitimate. To say something like “Wow! You look exactly like a man!” implies that the person isn’t a man, but is rather only mimicking one. And asking about genitalia, sex, or surgery? Totally inappropriate.

Here’s what it looks like when those kinds of statements are directed toward cis people. The lesson? Intrusive statements and questions are uncool, no matter whom you’re talking to:

Watch the whole thing:

Images: YouTube (5)