How to talk (and listen) to transgender people | Jackson Bird


Hi, I’m Jack, and I’m transgender. Let me take a guess at some of thoughts that might be running
through your head right now. “Transgender? Wait, does that mean that they’re
actually a man or actually a woman?” “I wonder if he’s had the surgery yet … Oh, now I’m looking at his crotch. Look to the right,
that’s a safe place to look.” “Yes, I knew it!
No real man has hips like those.” “My friend’s daughter is transgender — I wonder if they know each other.” “Oh my gosh, he is so brave. I would totally support his right
to use the men’s bathroom. Wait, but how does he use the bathroom? How does he have sex?” OK, OK, let’s stop
those hypothetical questions before we get too close for my comfort. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I did come here today to share
my personal experiences being transgender, but I did not wake up this morning
wanting to tell an entire audience about my sex life. Of course, that’s the problem
with being trans, right? People are pretty much always
wondering how we have sex and what kind of equipment
we’re working with below the belt. Being trans is awkward. And not just because the gender
I was assigned at birth mismatches the one I really am. Being trans is awkward because everyone else gets awkward
when they’re around me. People who support me and all other
trans people wholeheartedly are often so scared to say to wrong thing, so embarrassed to not know
what they think they should, that they never ask. Part of what was so nerve-racking
about coming out as transgender was knowing that people
wouldn’t know what I meant. And when someone comes out as gay, people know what that means, but when you come out as trans, you have to face the misconceptions that will color other people’s
impressions of you even after you’ve educated them … And you will have to educate them. When I came out, I wrote at 10-page encyclopedic document with a zip-file attachment
of music and videos that I sent to every
single person I came out to. (Laughter) And I kept it in my email signature
for months afterwards, because you also
don’t ever stop coming out. I came out to the accountant
helping me with my taxes and the TSA agents who didn’t know
which one of them should pat me down, the man or the woman. I mean, I just came out
to everyone watching this. When I came out to my dad, to my great relief, he was totally cool
with me being trans, but as soon as I started talking
about physically transitioning, he freaked. And I quickly realized it was because he,
like so many other people, think that physical transition
means just one thing: the surgery. Now, listen, if there were one magical surgery that could turn me into a tall, muscular, societally perfect image
of a man overnight, I’d sign up in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. There are dozens of different
gender-affirming surgeries from chest surgeries to bottom surgeries to facial feminization and man-sculpting. Many trans people will only ever undergo
one procedure in their lifetime, if that. Maybe because they don’t
personally feel the need but also because they’re expensive, and health insurance
is only beginning to cover them. Instead, the first step for a trans person
seeking physical transition is usually hormone replacement therapy. Hormones are why I have a deeper voice
and some sparse whiskers on my neck and a giant pimple on my chin. Basically, they put you
through a second puberty … it’s a blast. (Laughter) Now, because our transitions
are slower and steadier than historic misconceptions
can lead people to believe, there can be some confusion about when to call someone
by their new name and pronouns. There’s no distinct point
in physical transition at which a trans person
becomes their true gender. As soon as they tell you
their new name and pronouns, that’s when you start using them. It can be difficult to make the change. You might slip up here and there; I’ve slipped up myself
with other trans people. But I always think to myself, if we can change from calling
Puff Daddy to P. Diddy, and if we apologize profusely
when we’ve used the wrong gender pronoun for someone’s pet cat — I mean, I think we can make
the same effort for the real humans in our lives. Now, there is no topic that makes other
people more awkward about trans people than public bathrooms. Ah, the bathrooms — the latest political flash point
for LGBT opponents. Here’s a fun fact about bathrooms: more US congressmen have been convicted
of assaulting someone in a public bathroom than trans people have been. (Laughter) The truth is we trans people are so much
more scared of you than you are of us. It’s a huge point of discussion
in trans communities about which bathroom
to start using and when, so we don’t attract attention
that could lead to violence against us. I personally started using the men’s room when I started getting confused
and frightened looks in the women’s room, even though I was petrified
to start going into the men’s room. And often we opt to just
not go to the bathroom at all. A 2015 national survey of trans people found that eight percent of us
had had a urinary tract infection in the past year as a result of avoiding restrooms. These bathroom bills
aren’t protecting anyone. All they’re doing is ensuring that when trans people
are assaulted in bathrooms, the law will no longer be on our side
when we report it. Being trans means a daily onslaught
of these misconceptions. And I have it pretty easy. I am a white, able-bodied guy sitting nearly at the peak
of privilege mountain. For non-binary people, for trans women, for trans people of color, it is so much harder. So I’ve given you a starter pack
of trans knowledge that I hope will lead
to more learning on your own. Talk to trans people. Listen to us. Amplify our voices. Take the heat off of us
and educate those around you so we don’t have to every time. Maybe someday, when I say, “Hi, I’m Jack, and I’m transgender,” the only response I’ll get is, “Hi, nice to meet you.” Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “How to talk (and listen) to transgender people | Jackson Bird

  1. Is it possible these people are just calling themselves trans because their butt ugly and had to concoct some activism to feel normal?

  2. Transgenders are turning out to be the worst kind of bullies, if you dont take part in their mental illness.

  3. I really don't care if you're trans. I don't want to be educated on anything to do with it. I don't want to learn pronoun's. If you are a girl you should use the womens bathroom. If your a man use the men's. Just because your trans don't expect special privileges. Don't expect me to call you a girl or a boy if you are not. It's seriously not my business to care or now about it.

  4. His intentions are good but I didn’t really learn much from this video, I don’t know if he had a time limit or anything but he could of said a lot more to education people

  5. My first thought is…
    I dont care at all.
    From the bottom of my heart it doesn't matter to me one bit.

  6. That’s funny because I don’t talk to anybody differently just because of their beliefs. I don’t talk to Christians or Muslims differently why would I talk to you differently? Oh you think you’re special I get it now.

  7. I love this video and I wanna get more and more educated on this, hopefully soon society will evolve like he says. I just felt a bit awkward about how quiet the audience was, the boy made some good jokes okay…

  8. Here's something really easy to understand: How to become a winner…just switch from male to female.
    Some guy gets turned into a girl, or just identifies as such, gets into track & field, and blows away the competition when the rest of the field is just girls who have always been girls.
    Want people to be able to take transgenders seriously? To not be biased against people who game the system to get track scholarships to college?
    Stop this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIlq85dL0C4

  9. Is a male who thinks he is a female or female who thinks she is a male categorised as 'learning difficulties' or 'mental illness'?

  10. My name is Chris and I'm transgender…. I was born a man but I identify as a lesbian woman….. But for some reason the gay and lesbian community will not let me in…. I've been in predominantly gay clubs and kicked out of the female restrooms…. I've tried to join groups that are predominantly lesbian and I am denied access or fellowship in these groups…..Their intolerance is absolutely bullshit….I'm fighting for the transgender movement but yet nobody is fighting for me….. Why is that??

  11. you can disguise yourself as much as you want you may even fool me, don't ask me to agree with your opinions.

  12. Talk to people like they're people, but, if someone feels the need to TELL me how to talk to them, then I'm not interested anyway.

  13. This is a great video! We aren't some scary Frankenstein people, we're human just like everybody else. Its okay to ask questions!

  14. Its a very personal choice but these trans WANT THE WORLD to listen n accept their very private n personal inclination… my personal choice too that these r nothing but fake labelling of themselves

  15. As a female, I draw the line at transwomen insisting that there is no difference between the two categories. I accept transwomen are "women" in the sociocultural context. I will not refer to myself as a 'cis' woman because my physical, phenotypical and biological being is WOMAN – AKA adult human female.

    Having said that, I don't consider myself better than a transwoman – we are different and always will be.

    I personally don't care if you "used to be a boy/man" or "used to be a woman/girl" – I am only interested in who you are as a person in terms of how you treat other people.

  16. It's all self-inflicted. Rubbish. Hogwash. Balderdash. Call it whatever you want. I call her a woman because that is what she is. I don't live in a fantasy world. Don't expect me to conform to the one you live in.

  17. Still look like a woman you can change all you want but you can never change what God created you to be. What a hassle to go through so much surgeries and hormone therapies. Should have started with pastoral counseling now that change is unbelievable!!! God bless you.

  18. "Gender assigned at birth". That one always cracks me up! lol. They never forget their liberal talking points.

  19. I have gotten recorded by people coming out of bathrooms on their phones, regardless of the bathroom I use, is that what a normal thing society does that claims trans people don't have any issues going through life?

  20. You aren't assigned a gender. Your soul was meant to be male or female. Instead of accepting yourself, you wanted to change it.

  21. Science beats it all. You might go under surgeries and get fake male genitals but you will always be fake, you were born a woman and no matter how much you try you will always have XX chromosomes you'll always have the body structure of a female. Not even trying to be disrespectful I'm just being logical.

  22. So what I have to talk to them differently? Jackson Bird you are no special case other than you are a thing. Neither man or woman.

  23. So, 8% of transsexuals are putting themselves at unnecessary risk because we, the other 99% of the population know which bathrooms to use without a second thought – Yup, trans people are just totally mentally stable people alright.

  24. There are so many hate comments… If you are a fellow trans person regretting scrolling through, know that you are valid ?

  25. Trans people are not special. They are people like everyone else. I reject your premise that I need to be educated on how to interact with my fellow human beings. Ive been doing so since well before you were born.

  26. I know what to tell transgender people. " Get a anatomy book , look at yourself in a full length mirror " . Figure it out stupids.

  27. What these people need is a support group that has experience in their mind-space. That is, psychiatrists, social workers, and the folk who revel with them within their communities. Wanting EVERYONE on board is unrealistic, narcissistic and political. Not interested in being pressured into preferences any more than they are.

  28. Seriously how sensitive you have to be to be not called the right thing, ive had someone call me gay all my life! Ive had someone call me the wrong name all my life, but you know what i take from that! A special bond, because only that person does that to me and it makea them stick out!

  29. My problem with transgender people is that they reinforce the stereotypes they feel opressed by. I mean trans people often are exaggerated versions of the gender they transition into. Also behaving and looking like something is stupid because clothes have no gender and so on.

  30. I would be perfectly okay addressing people with an extra pronoun other than "he" or "she" which is already widely used in the English language anyway …"it". But somehow I think that few transgenders or "free spirits" would be willing to embrace it…a single member of the Addams Family, notwithstanding.

  31. Respect has to be earned I do NOT HAVE DO Respect a transgender person pronoun if they have not earned my Respect

  32. Most people have no problem with speech. The trans activists however are the ones who have the problem and are obsessed with gender. I don't ever in 55 years remember feeling like (as a woman) I needed to say anything about my gender. That's the same for the vast majority of people. Why is it necessary to mention it?

  33. we live in a generation offended by anything you say. What a dimenishing society we have currently, there are people who have more relevant issues in life such as poverty, warzone obliteration, frantic terroristic ideals brought upon with extreme consequences to those who simply don't believe a certain religion or disagree with government ideals. You have unlimited freedom here in America to do as you please , so why do you feel as if you are being humiliated because someone simply misidentified you?

  34. It's more like "listen" If you talk, you get in trouble. If you ask, you get in trouble. There are different trans. Some are super emotional and gets offended easily and some are cool and understands the people hesitate in interactions due to the things you mention.

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