Hello, my name is Jackson Bird and today we’re
talking about grammar! That’s gonna make the kids watch, right? That’s what the youths are into these days? …Commas? (intro music) So us trans people basically come with a whole other language you have to learn. Like, we might as well all walk around with
glossaries and TRANS TO CIS translation dictionaries to just hand out to people. So, I’ve been thinking about making like an
on-going trans grammar series to help explain some of our lexicon and this is sorta like
the first beta episode. The pilot. It’s the pilot! I did do a TED talk about how to talk to trans
people so this is just occurring to me how incredibly on brand this is. Also, I have a literature degree. I am so qualified to be doing this! So, one question that I get asked all the
time, from you folks and as well as from people in my life is:
How do I refer to a trans person before they transitioned? You could be telling a story from their childhood
or your old times together or maybe talking about their work that came out before… they
did. So, are you supposed to use their new name
and pronouns or the ones that they went by when the event took place? The answer is very simple: you use their current
name and pronouns. If that’s all you wanted, you can stop watching
now. See ya later! That’s the answer. That’s it. HOWEVER, I think it’s very important to
understand the why behind language and not just memorize a correct answer. Now, you may encounter a trans person some
time who has a different preference, but the gold standard is to always err on the side
of validating someone’s gender. And sometimes it may seem weird at first. Maybe you’re looking at clearly feminine
baby pictures and saying, “Aw, Jackson was such a cute baby, wasn’t he?” Yeah, I was. I was very cute. Or, maybe someone published a book under their
birth name, but now they go by another one. Like Ash Hardell. Even though the book is out there in the world
with his old name on it, he’d probably rather you use his current one whenever you talk
about it. Or maybe someone has videos on YouTube with
his old name on them because he can’t really do much about it. The important thing to keep in mind is that
it’s very likely the trans person in question has always felt like the gender they are. It wasn’t something brand new that they
“changed” once they decided to share it with everyone and come out. So like, when I talk about growing up as a
little boy, that’s more true to what the experience was in my head was than if I was
to talk about growing up as little girl, even though that’s how most people saw me. So by referring to the person as how they
identify now, even for talking about the past, you’re validating their gender and recognizing
that they didn’t just “change” genders when they decided to tell you about it. They felt that way for much longer. But again, it can really differ for some folks. Depending on their gender identity and their
own relationship to their transition and experiences, it might be important to them to make those
distinctions between the different genders they presented as or were treated as at various
points in their lives. For example, when I talk about more feminine
stages of my adolescence, especially if I’m talking about topics like how I was treated
by men, I think it’s important to bring up the gender I presented as. But I would not be happy to hear someone ELSE
talking about that period of my life and using my old name or pronouns. Because these sorts of nuances or personal
opinions are down to each person to decide for themselves, not something you get the
same privilege to do. Your role is to defer to the most respectful
assumption until you’re told otherwise. Now, the other reason it’s important to
use a trans person’s current name and pronouns, even when talking about their pre-transition
life, is because it can be really distressing for a trans person to hear their old name
and pronouns. It’s anxiety-inducing, it’s nauseating,
it’s all kindsa bad and distracting feelings that we don’t want to be having when someone
is talking about what might be otherwise a very nice point in our lives. You also need to think of the safety of the
person you’re talking about. Are you a hundred percent sure that every
person you’re talking to knows this person is trans? If you switched to their old pronouns and
name to tell a pre-transition story, would you be outing them against their will? Outing someone as trans is not only massively
disrespectful, but can be dangerous if some of the folks who find out are transphobic. And they could choose to act on that transphobia
with violence or forms of disenfranchisement like getting them fired from their job or
removed from their housing – which by the way, are both totally legal things to do to
trans people in most states in the US. Gah! I have just one more point of complication
when it comes to talking about trans people in the past: if you are in a mixed group where
some people aren’t aware of the person’s trans status, there might just be some stories
you can’t share. Y’know like, does the story involve them using
the restroom of another gender or being in Boy Scouts or going to an all-women’s camp? Those are the kindsa details that might raise
eyebrows to someone who doesn’t know they’re trans. For example, my mom wanted to tell some friends
about the prom dress she had made me and asked me how she should talk about that and I told
her, at that time, I was probably more comfortable if she pretended the dress had been for a
niece. It may seem like a lot that you have to think
for the trans people in your life or like a shame that you can’t share some stories,
but us trans people have to think about these things all the time. We’re constantly filtering and second-guessing
things that we’re about to say in order to stay safe and comfortable in certain environments. So, I guess what I’m saying is, taking on
a smidge of the work yourself shouldn’t be too much to ask? And also, we all perform these niceties for
other people in our lives. Making sure not to offend or reveal information
about friends’ past relationships or family secrets or personal medical histories. All of these behaviors come second nature
to most people. It only sounds like trans people are asking
a lot of you right now because so much of it is new right to many of you right now. Soon enough it’ll just be normal. But until then, I’m going to keep making
videos like this! So let me know if you liked this video by
giving it a thumb’s up and hitting that subscribe button. If I do make this an on-going trans grammar
series, i’m thinking of calling it something like… I dunno, like the transitive property? Or translating… translations… I don’t know! I’d love to hear ideas you have. Leave ’em down in the comments below. And as always you can follow me at jackisnotabird
on instagram, twitter, YouNow. I’m gonna be traveling for the rest of the
month to some cool places so I especially recommend you following me on Instagram Stories
to keep up with those adventures. You can also support me by buying some of
my merch on DFTBA.com or joining the community on Patreon. Also! I gave a talk at YouTube in New York City
last month, which just went live on their Creator Academy channel. It’s telling my Youtube story and how much
of ourselves we should or shouldn’t share online. Like that shirt that I wore in the talk that
probably should never have been shared online. But go check it out! Leave some nice comments. Tell ‘em I sent you. And that is it for the day! Have a wonderful week. Thank you for watching. I’ll see ya next time. (“Pomade” by Silent Partner)

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Hey, NOTIFICATION SQUAD! 1. Did you get a push notification for this? and 2. What was the title in the notification? Doing a li'l research based on your previous feedback. THANKS! 😝

  2. could you talk about the grammar with they/them pronouns? i am a user of those pronouns and it would be great to have a video by a creator i love i could show my friends.

  3. What about trans-lations for the title?
    Also, i'm trans and i've literally had this problem for talking about myself sometimes, it takes a while to get used to it, thankfully the one time i outed myself accidentally outloud, it was to a 5 year old and his parents already knew/are my friends, so no harm no foul. But even with a kid it was a lightning-bolt of anxiety for a second, which is exactly why you should ere on the side of caution and use current names/pronouns.

  4. Holy crap yeah the worst thing is when someone tells me “back when you were deadname ” or “haha why did deadname do that?” Like no, pls stop.

  5. Thank you for posting this. My mom and siblings keep using my old name and pronouns when talking about the past me and I couldn't figure out a way to address it, so I just sent them a link to this video as a starting point for the conversation.
    Much Love.

  6. Thanks for this video. When contributing captions to a video where the audio uses someone's previous name or pronouns, should the captions reflect the audio or should the captions use the person's current name and pronouns?

  7. Thank you for making this video, and I'd also like to apologize for using your former name when I asked this question last week. I didn't realize the reaction to it could be so strong

  8. Thanks for answering a question I was never sure how to ask! I'd definitely love and appreciate more videos on this topic

  9. Paused this video to talk to my parents when they arrived after a family party I had to miss because I was at work. Found out they outed me to the entire family. Then had the audacity to ask why it matters, and get mad at me for being upset and say, "you shouldn't care what people think, but your family loves you, if you didn't want us to tell people you shouldn't have told anyone, it's not all about you!" super cool, kill me! also i'm a grown ass adult and i feel insane.

  10. Thanks, I've been wondering about this for awhile! Specifically, how to Google something a trans person did in the past. Happily, I found out that there seems to be a task force that goes through and changes Wikipedia articles and any other editable sources for trans public figures.

  11. So glad you took time to discuss this topic! I used to get the feeling I was being too demanding when I asked my family to refer to past me with my current name and pronouns. After all, they're telling the story from their perspective, and I played the role of woman back then. But the thing is, they're still talking about ME, and who I am is a nonbinary person. Also, changing the pronouns they use in the story is not really a big deal for them, but it sure is for me.

  12. This is incredible.
    For me, the last thing I ever want to be to anyone I love is disrespectful. For my friends in the LGBTQIA+ community, I never want to step on toes, and for my friends who have or are currently transitioning, I had these questions myself, so thank you for answering them!
    Looking forward to the rest of the series!

  13. I struggle a bit. My ex partner and I were married. I am not straight, but I also feel like ex-'wife' is not indicative of the awful jerk that I had as a 'husband'. I dunno…I feel lost on that one.

  14. For the most part this has been my default way to talk about trans people and it makes sense and is fair and I haven't come across any issues. The only time when this has been hard is when I am talking (for example to my parents) about a friend of mine who has transitioned and the people I'm talking to had met the person before they transitioned but are unaware that the person has transitioned and don't know them very well. In a particular situation I remember, my parents were going to see my friend again so felt like it was more sensible to give them a heads up that the person had a new name and used different pronouns so that I could avoid my parents accidentally deadnaming them etc. At the time, the only way I could think of explaining it was to use their deadname to explain who it was and that their name had changed. Thinking about this now, I wonder if there would be a better way to phrase this – maybe by referring to them by some other defining features? In this case, this would be hard as my parents probably wouldn't remember very much about the person as they had only met in person once, but they might remember the deadname. Because my parents had met them before transition, when they met them again it would be clear that they had transitioned, so this isn't really a case of "outing" someone. What are people's thoughts on this? Especially when talking to those who are particularly unfamiliar with or don't know trans terminology or trans people, it can be hard to explain that a person has new pronouns and a different name.

  15. Thank you for answering this!!! I’ve always wondered, but not wanted to ask, because I don’t want to offend anyone. I would be very interested in a series about this!! There is so little discussion in popular media about courtesy to trans people and it is important to educate and respect everybody.

  16. That feeling when Jackson makes the exact video that I wanted to show to my parents a day after I start thinking about. Thanks! 😀

  17. When I refer to my childhood I simply refer to my self as my true gender ( female) but my mom often talks about my childhood referring to me as a little boy, I forgive her because she has been my number one ally

  18. I have this great friend now, but we used to date back when she identified as a boy, I wonder how to refer to her back then, do I say she was my gf?

  19. personally i prefer the current pronouns/masculine coded language for the past, BUT i don't 100% use the narrative that I "always was" my gender, because it did take me a long time to conceptualize it in the way I currently do. it does also sometimes make parts of my history hard to discuss, like being in brownies and guides, but it's a small trade off

  20. great video! i wish I'd had it a bunch of years ago though oops. i remember distinctly this being one of my questions when i first started learning about trans stuff, but that was like 6 years ago lol

  21. This is amazing. I love the idea for this series. Also, I noticed there hasn't been a new Transmission for six months. Are we getting any more soon?

  22. This was so educational, thank you! If I can make a suggestion for a future video for this series, I've long wondered about gender-neutral salutations (instead of Mr. or Ms., especially relevant when writing an email to someone whose gender you don't know) and what to say at work instead of "sir" or "ma'am" so as to not accidentally misgender someone. Thanks!

  23. Even as someone who identifies under the trans umbrella this was very good to watch and looking through the comments it is awesome you were thinking about making one about using they/them.

  24. I have a very specific version of this question. I have a friend who is a trans girl, however when we were little we got made fun of, because people always said we were dating (heteronormativity ways). I’m always talking to people who don’t even know her and never will, and I’m complaining about the people making fun of us, not her or anything. What should I do?

  25. This is the issue I have problems with. I have to still consciously think about it when I say something, and I don't with most other aspects with my trans friends. I get so disappointed and frustrated with myself when I mess up and this is really the only time it ever happens for me.

  26. Your videos are so nice because they're educational and at the same time I can just sit and wonder at how attractive you are

  27. Hey, Jackson. I know you're probably really really busy with, you know, life, but I'm going to comment this anyways. Because I'm stupid and overly emotional right now. I think I'm trans-masculine, but literally nobody knows except for my best friend, who happens to be gender fluid. You see, my problem is that my parents are overly-religious and conservative… I mean, my dad's a pastor. He's at a bible study class as I'm typing this, and my mom runs 2 bible study classes and takes one of her own. I just, I guess I need a little advice for what to do next. I'm terrified of my family finding out about this… they would probably kick me out or throw me in a camp or something… they would never look at me the same again, but I really do want to be considered male. I've wanted this since I've started puberty, about 4 years ago. Do you have anything, any words of encouragement or links to websites with information about whoever the fuck I am? I know you probably won't reply to this, and I completely understand. Thank you, anyways, for giving me a space to vent.

  28. Yyyyeeeeessssss – please talk grammar to me. Ha, in all seriousness as a cis-het lady this is super helpful, and as a person with a B.A. in English… I just really enjoy grammar jokes. 🙂 Best wishes!

  29. Oof I'm one of those kids who was definitely a girl when I was little, then a boy, then there was a weird period where I was a girl again, aaaaaaaaaaand then back to a boy.
    I'm the trans person every cis person hates. :')

  30. I am a trans guy, and i went to a school for girls only, so is very hard to talk about my whole past. Also, i dont have male cousins, or brothers, and somehow my neibourghood was full of girls; then, is weird cuz i NEVER had a male friend, and all my experiences are female related

  31. When referring to myself in the past I tend to just frame it like I'm talking about a guy I knew who mysteriously disappeared at some point in the past few years but can't quite pin down an exact date.

  32. Yea my aunt doesn’t understand that she will say my siblings deadman if she’s reading the mail and it pisses me off

    For my family when we talk about the pass my parents found it very hard to not use the pronouns we where born with so they just us they/them/theirs which made it easier to and now they can use he him for us who use those.

  33. Everytime I watch your videos, I can’t help but be distracted by those three Irvine wels books in the background. I can’t help but wonder if you’re just a big fan of the one book, or if they’re a series.

  34. trans jackson
    trans jackso
    trans jacks
    trans jack
    trans jac
    trans ja
    trans j

  35. I have a sibling who is starting to come out as transgender but is still too hurt by past experiences to discuss anything like this. I want to understand and know they likely need time and space, so thank you for your videos to help me learn

  36. Also like you don't know if the other person will start calling them by their birth name which is the absolute worst

  37. Thanks for explaining this! I was just thinking about this the other day when I talked to someone about the directors of sense8, and I was kinda unsure, so thanks.

  38. As a cis bi woman with trans and NB friends, I found this incredibly informative
    But doesn’t Ash Hardell use they/them?

  39. Hi, thanks for this video and for your direct, honest, non-judgmental explanation. You're an awesome person.

  40. Anyone who’s favorite subject was English is now LGBTQ+ I don’t make the facts I just say them-so yes your intro will attract people

  41. T H A N K Y O U my parents are super… not great about this, and they don't really understand why I need them to stop. I flinch every time I hear my old name. It's not a common name, so it doesn't seem like I'll be desensitized to it anytime soon.

  42. This is very well explained! I recently encountered a textbook that made the mistake of referring to a trans girl as "he" in her past. I like how you made the point that doing this can actually endanger people. It's hard to argue with that!

  43. I know a transguy whom I went to pre school with before he transitioned. Now my dad knows he transitioned but when I talk about him using his correct name and pronouns my dad often doesn't know who I'm talking about since my dad only hung out with him in our pre school era so I'd have to mention his dead name to make clear to my dad who I'm talking about but I'd rather not. Any tips?

  44. I'm a transgender woman. My message to cisgender people is this: Put the same effort in to respecting transgender people with their names and pronouns as you would with cisgender women whose last names might have changed due to divorce or marriage (e.g. Mrs. going back to Miss and vice versa) . Just as the law and a lot of people in society recognize parents who adopt as no less of a parent than biological parents, so too should society (and the law) recognize transgender people as no less the gender with which they identify. With adoption it is the psychological bond that is developed between parent and child (regardless if adopted or biological); the same concept with gender identity.

  45. This is something i was always nervous about! I went to school with a trans guy who transitioned after highschool. When i sas him again a few years later working at a grocery store with a clearly male look and a different name on the tag it was VERY awkward for tue both of us i guess. I am not sure how many of the "old people" he met since transitioning and i really do not want his transsexuality to he a topic because he probably has to talk about it all the time. We weren't many girl in our class back then so whenever i talk about school i have to concentrate to use his now name and not his old name. Like why was he the only guy in your group? Why was he in your all-female classes? and so on…

  46. Transgender does not exist—-transperverted maybe.Everyone is born a male or female—–sex is not interchangable.  Mutilation or inner feelings do not supersede biological facts.Thinking otherwise is delusionary—make believe.

  47. My mom does this all the time. When talking about me now, she always uses my correct name and pronouns, but when talking about me in the past she never does. It’s really annoying.

  48. So there's this really awesome auto-biography of a trans rock star, but for the first like 90% of the book, she refers to herself exclusively by her birth name and pronouns. So when telling others about stories from the book, I found myself slipping up a lot and saying "he" instead of "she" because I hadn't gotten to her "realization" yet and everything was in male pronouns. I felt real shitty…

  49. Here is why this has awkward caveats. Please chime in with your preferences and friends' preferences so we can get an idea of how this impacts people.

    A lesbian dates another lesbian. Later in life, after they split up, lesbian 1 (H1 – human 1) transitions to male, as they were always meant to have been. Lesbian 2 (H2 – human 2) is having a discussion with someone about their past, someone who doesn't know H1 and has never met them, but knows H2 is a lesbian. So H2 is talking about an event in the past concerning H1. Should H2 call H1 by their prior incorrect feminine name and pronouns and not open the whole can of worms that H1 is now socially/medically a man, or should H2 preface the story with another story about how they dated a trans man before he thought to transition and so they're going to now tell a story that makes it sound like they're straight because they're going to use a masculine name and pronouns out of respect for H1? Obviously if the discussion is with someone who is a friend to both or already knows all the details, they could probably follow easily enough using H1's now correct name and pronouns.

    How does one navigate this scenario?

  50. When referring to myself, I sometimes just say my dead name because I feel so disconnected from it that it doesn't cause dysphoria.
    To people I'm out to (three friends and a counselor), I say pre-Ethan (I'm trying out Ethan as a name and it's working out pretty well)
    Edit: I feel like it's important to know that when I refer to myself as my dead name, I treat (dead name) like a different person.
    For example, "Oh yeah! (Dead name) drew that!" or "(Dead name) was so stupid. I hated her."
    Pre-Ethan is treated a bit different but usually kinda similar

Related Post