italian-priincess asked:

Hi! I know that 'transsexual' and 'transvestite' are innapropriate words to use, but i've never been told why. I hope its okay for me to ask why, and if not i'm so sorry. (Disclaimer- i never use those words, im just trying to learn more about this)

No problem! A lot of the issue comes from the fact that those two words were both used before people really understood sex and gender. They thought they were the same thing, that gender was just an expression of sex.

Just yesterday I read a blogger who prefers transsexual over transgender for themself, so for anyone that embraces these labels, you’ve got my support 100%! I’m just answering the question of why some people don’t like these terms.

- Transvestite. Literally, “wearing the clothes of the other.” Some cis-people like to dress in the clothes of the other sex/gender, so they are not transgender, they just like wearing the clothes. 

Psychologists used to consider this a fetish, a psychological problem, and that’s why the word transvestite doesn’t have a great history. It doesn’t recognize gender at all, historically it focuses on the sexualization of clothes. 

Also, drag queens have in the past been labeled transvestites, which further confuses the word. Some drag queens are trans, some are gay or bi men who are just putting on a show, and while some queens may be technically transvestites, you can see how the word isn’t really accurate for transpeople who dress as they do because of their gender identity, not because of a clothing fetish.

- Transsexual. Many people feel that this term puts too much focus on surgery, genitalia and transition, vs. the authentic person and their gender identity. Laverne Cox brings this up when interviewers ask her about “the surgery” or “down there.”

Janet Mock and Carmen Carrera have brought up the exact same point in interviews.

Hope this helps! My recommendation is to follow cues and see how a person refers to themself.   

How Carmen Carrera’s interview on Katie Couric’s show went down

Carmen discussed her goal to become the first trans Victoria’s Secret model, so the interview had a good start

The interview started to go downhill after Katie Couric starting to only ask questions about  Carmen’s transition and introducing her by saying “she was born a man and that’s why she’s on our show” 

But she managed to handle it pretty well

And then Katie asked this

and said this

yeah, she went there

But Carmen then proceeded to shut Katie down and explain that there are other things to discuss

Actress Laverne Cox joins to discuss her role in her television show Orange is the New Black

And then Katie decides to direct the conversation back to Carmen and her transition 

Laverne Cox decides to step up on the subject

Watch the full interview here


On the same day MSNBC announces my new weekly culture show, So POPular! for its new digital network SHIFT, I get to share the cover of C☆NDY with Laverne Cox, Carmen Carrera, Geena Rocero, Isis King, Gisele Xtravaganza, Leyna Ramous, Dina Delicious, Nina Poon, Juliana Huxtable, Niki M'nray, Peche Di, Yasmine Petty, and the legendary Carmen Xtravaganza!

You can by the special anniversary issue here.