A Quick Note

I just wanted to apologize for my careless language use lately. If you haven’t read Cedar’s fantastic post on language politics, get thee to Taking Up Too Much Space.  Seriously. Like, now.

I did read (and enjoy) Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl, and at the time I definitely had a “Holy crap, I never even though of that!” moment over why trans _____ (with a space) would be a preferable term over the all-one-word variation. (Note: I’ve definitely seen some trans* folks themselves use all-one-word constructions, and I would never think I have any right to tell them how to speak or identify themselves. But, as Cara from The Curvature pointed out to me via Twitter, so far I haven’t heard anyone say that leaving the space in is offensive, whereas plenty of people have said sans-space most certainly is.  And when someone tells me I’ve said something offensive, I make it a policy to listen.) But apparently at some point I forgot.

Anyway, that’s why I just systematically went through my blog and adjusted all my language to get the spaces back in–thankfully there weren’t too many, so I guess this hasn’t been a very long lapse, but it was a lapse nonetheless, and I’m sincerely sorry.

I’m also sorry that I undoubtedly made the same mistake many times over in the recent gargantuan comments thread about bathrooms, public access and Focus on the Family over at Feministing. Again, several other people there self-identified using the all-one-word construction, so perhaps my usage didn’t stand out much, but I really wish I could go back and change it.

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4 Responses to A Quick Note

  1. Sui says:

    Thanks for linking that language politics post! I commented in that big Feministing thread and I’ve seen both versions so often that I had to pause and think about which one was the right one to use. I still wasn’t even sure but now that I’ve read it I totally don’t understand why I didn’t get it before, especially since I’ve corrected people a few times at least over their use of trans, in it’s many forms, as a noun instead of an adjective.

  2. pandanose says:

    Ugh. Don’t get me started on trans* as a noun. I’m basically ignoring all local news coverage of the New Hampshire decision at the moment, because the first clip I watched included a reporter referring to “transgenders.”

    (Oh, and also? Because local news outlets that allow comments are full of tools. Huge, huge tools.)

  3. genderkid says:

    Thanks for the link — I hadn’t really thought about this difference. I use “transman” when referring to myself because I do consider my gender as distinct from just “man”, but I think I’ll start using the space-separated version when referring to other people. The two-word variation wouldn’t bug me, and like you said, it doesn’t seem to offend anyone.

  4. pandanose says:

    Yeah, because I’m dumb my first response to reading this was, “Well, I see both constructions, so it must not matter.” Then I actually used my brain and realized that if one is widely considered offensive (for very good reasons) and the other isn’t, the choice is clear.

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