We are not unusual to ourselves. We know at least one transgender person really well and usually a good number of other ones. It isn’t uncommon for us to know other transgender people’s stories either. This should not come as a surprise. Is doesn’t, right?

For people meeting us this is often not true. We may be the first transgender person that they have knowingly met. They may be suffering from a kind of shock because we don’t match some inward stereotype of what a “transgender” is supposed to be, look like, sound like or act like. For them, we’re a unicorn.

This message is for you who are encountering us for the first time. First, hi, I’m so happy you’re getting a chance to put a real person to this concept of transgender. Take advantage of this to realize we’re like everyone else. We are more like everyone than we are different. We differ in this one aspect, that our gender and sex didn’t line up at birth.

Here’s what I’d like from you. Treat me and others with respect. Resist the urge to use this as an opportunity to ask every question you have about being transgender, or at least ask whether we’re in the mood to talk about it. Try to read whether we’re tired of answering the questions. You’re asking the questions for the first time, we’re answering for the hundredth time.

Last, please remember that all people want to be seen first and foremost as a person. Not as a circus freak, or a curiosity. We’re people, and fundamentally no different than you or anyone else. Please respect that.


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