There are few quicker ways to lose an argument than to treat the people whom you are trying to persuade with disdain and hypocrisy. Yet that is precisely what Jennifer Finney Boylan has done in her Huffington Post article The ‘T’ Word. She shares the unfortunate inability of so many trans activists to realise the hypocrisy of imposing the term cis on non-trans people.
As Boylan draws her article to a close she disdains non-trans people who do not know that they are supposed to be called cisgender:
Trying to keep track of the many nuances of trans identity can make cisgender allies throw up their hands in confusion. (You knew that “cisgender” is the opposite of “transgender,” didn’t you, just as “straight” is the opposite of “gay”?)
Remember that this is in an article trying to persuade non-trans people not to use the term tranny, so why should the immediate riposte not be “You knew that tranny was short for transgender?” Boylan immediately follows that demeaning approach to the supposedly intended audience (we are all know such articles are really apologetic written to cheer the troops) with:
There’s time to work all that out. In the meantime, though, I tend to follow the rule my mother taught me: Call people by the names they prefer, as a sign of both respect and humility. That means that unless you’re a member of the transgender community, the only time the word “tranny” should cross your lips is when referring to the thing under the hood of your car that might be creating torque converter problems.
Boylan has quickly followed up her disdain with rank hypocrisy. The non-trans people who are simply to accept being called cis, and are stupid to object to the term, must follow the hard and fast rules for how to refer to a trans person. She might know about converting torque, but Boylan is clueless about converting non-trans people’s thoughts.
© Mercia McMahon 2013