Trans* Educational Resources
Terminology & Pronouns
Trans and Gender Variant Terminology (12-page glossary, PDF)
The link above provides list of terms includes many common words and phrases used to describe transgender, transsexual, and gender variant lives and experiences. It is by no means a complete list, and the exact meaning of some terms may differ depending on the person using them. This list merely serves as an introduction to trans terminology. Please use this terminology sheet in tandem with the other items in the “Trans Allies Toolkit,” including the “What Does it Mean to be Transgender” brochure, “Action Tips for Allies of Trans People,” and the “Recommended Reading List.”
Q: What are Gender Neutral Pronouns?
A: Gender Neutral Pronouns are pronouns that do not associate a gender with the person or animal being discussed. A precedent for a gender neutral pronoun actually exists in English; both “ou” and “a” were accepted pronouns in the English language, but they died out in the 1400s.
Q: Why do we need Gender Neutral Pronouns?
A: Some languages, such as English, have no truly gender neutral third person pronoun available or commonly used, thus gender neutral pronouns are created in the interest of greater gender equity. In addition to being able to use them to refer to people whose genders are unknown to us at the moment of conversation, gender neutral pronouns can be a preferred option for some within the transgender and genderqueer communities.
Q: Isn’t ‘it’ gender-neutral?
A: “It” is used to denote objects, and thus is considered offensive in reference to people. Some transgender and gender non-conforming people report “it” being used in reference to them in demeaning, disgusted, and threatening ways.
Q: What are some examples of Gender Neutral Pronouns?
A: The two sets of most commonly used gender neutral pronouns are below, along with their pronunciations and the gendered pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’ for easy reference. They, Them, & Their is can be used a singular plural pronoun for folks there is also the following:
|Subject||Object||Possessive Adjective||Possessive Pronoun||Reflexive|
|Ze /zee/||Hir /here/||Hir /here/||Hirs /heres/||Hirself /herself/|
|E /ee/||Em /em/||Eir /air/||Eirs /airs/||Emself /emself/
Q: Doesn’t this sound kinda awkward though?
A: Integrating a gender neutral pronoun into an already existing language can prove difficult, but not impossible. It can be achieved through intentional practice, and can really help someone feel included and respected. Also, knowledge about and usage of gender neutral pronouns are often a good way to communicate allyship to trrans and gender variant folks.
Adapted from various sources including wiseGEEK, Aether Lumina, and trans@MIT (Massachussets Institute of Technology).
The Vanderbilt University Medical Center Program for LGBTI health
is an innovative effort to improve healthcare for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) patients that is housed within the Office for Diversity in Medical Educatio
Recommended Reading for Medical and Mental Health Providers
Lists medical and history-of-science focused books, as well as online resources for clinical guidelines, health information brochures, and examples of hormone protocols (info sheet in PDF)
- Trans* Sexual Health Video- Introduction
- Trans* Sexual Health- Language
- Trans* Sexual Health- Body Parts
Things to Read, Watch, & Attend
Recommended Reading List (info sheet in PDF)
Additional Reading list:
- Body Alchemy: Transsexual Portraits, by Loren Cameron
- Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us, by Kate Bornstein
- Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Rupaul, by Leslie Feinberg
- Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink and Blue, by Leslie Feinberg,
- Transgender Care: Recommended Guidelines, Practical Information and Personal Accounts, by Gianna E. Israel
- Transgender Emergence: Therapuetic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and Their Families, by Arlene Istar Lev
- Trans Forming Families: Real Stories about Transgendered Loved Ones, edited by Mary Boenke
DVDs available at KC Potter Center
There are a number of conferences around the country that either do a great job of including trans-related issues or are specifically geared towards the trans community. Here is a sampling:
- Translating Identity Conference
- Gender Odyssey
- Southern Comfort
- Trans Health Conference
- Creating Change
Soldier Girls and Dancing Boys:Gender Transgression in Books for Children, Teens, and Caring Adults
Bibliography of books with Transgender characters
Trans* Student Equality Resources (TSER)
is a youth-led organization dedicated to improving the educational environment for trans* and gender nonconforming students through our advocacy, affirming that one’s gender identity is a valuable form of human diversity. We believe that trans* and gender nonconforming youth should be allowed the same opportunities and respect enjoyed by their peers and that an equal education is a matter of civil rights.