Small Improvement

Responding to Buzzfeed: “Everything You Wanted to Know About Transgender People”

Sam Killermann

A couple days ago Buzzfeed (a HUGELY popular, mainstream publication) ran a “Trans 101” article Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Transgender People But Were Afraid To Ask. We were stoked! (and, admittedly, a bit nervous)

After reading through it, we realized our nervousness was not justified, because — despite what we’ve been trained to expect from mainstream publications — the article was really well done! Great work, Sarah!  Hooray!

However, even the greatest things can be improved (like adding wayfarers to the Mona Lisa), and this article is no exception. While we really appreciated reading this (and Sam appreciated the link to his site — fun surprise), there are a few edits we would like to suggest.

(Oh, and if you’re curious about further trans* or LGBTQ terminology, check our our Vocab Extravaganza activity, and the massive list of terms it includes)

Trans Man / Trans Woman


While many people might identify as “Transman” or “Transwoman” as a way of recognizing their gender assigned at birth, a lot of trans* people will simply identify as “man” or “woman.”



One of the reasons this term is considered incorrect is because it implies that something *happened* to the person to make them transgender. People don’t “switch genders” due to some traumatic thing, just like they don’t switch sexual orientations — as Queen Gaga would say, we’re all born this way.

Oh, and for the myriad people who we’ve seen snap “BUT WHY IS IT OKAY TO SAY ‘CISGENDERED’ THEN REVERSE DISCRIMINATION BLURGH” … “cisgendered” is also incorrect. “Cisgender” will do just nicely. Also, please stop yelling.



The article totally nails the definition with one aside: someone who identifies as MTF/FTM does not have to be currently transitioning. That is, some people who have completed their transition will still identify as MTF/FTM (also MtF/M2F or FtM/F2M).



Not only is not everyone who does drag trans*, but MOST people (in our extensive anecdotal experiences at drag shows… Meg’s been to close to two dozen but who’s counting) who do drag aren’t trans*. Drag is a performance thing, not an identity thing.

Preferred Pronouns


We’ve most commonly seen this as “Preferred Gender Pronouns” or “PGPs.” For example, one time Sam was performing at a high school and one of the little gems who went to school there asked him, “Sam, what are your PGPs?” Then Sam got so excited/surprised he may have peed a little bit.

Birth Name


Love this one. For serious. Just wanted to say that. Nailed it, Sarah. Ick.



Some other “nopes” we would like to see included include TrannyHermaphrodite, Ladyboy, He/She, and Pretendbian. Ick.

Do you have any suggestions or critiques?

Leave a comment below, or drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter if you do. We’d love to add them to the article, and with any luck we can encourage Buzzfeed to make these small (but important) improvements.