cambiare-magico's avatar


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By cambiare-magico   |   
Trans people get asked an awful lot of questions by people who want to know about them, but a lot of the time these questions are thoughtless, tactless and rude. Unintentionally for the most part. My good friend kiyobean linked me to a couple of lists featuring lists of what 'not' to say to transgender people and I found them quite interesting. Just because I'm trans, it doesn't mean I instantly knew all these things were offensive. I've answered these sorts of questions quite a few times in the past just assuming I was somehow obligated to answer them. Reading these little lists really helps me to try and shape intelligent responses to these questions in future.


For me it's taken a long time and a lot of reading to put some answers to these questions together in my head, and I've barely put them into practice.

Last week I was faced with these questions from a college at work (whom I had recently befriended and decided to tell about myself.) She is a very nice person, kind and intelligent as well as open minded, yet when I told her I was trans I got this:

"You look so real, I never would've known!"

"When did you have 'The Surgery

"What was your name, before?"

"Do you have girl parts or boy parts?"

I admit, I was disappointed being asked these questions once again from someone who I like. However, this time I did a lot better with my answers. I informed her that I don't disclose my previous name at least, but I wish I could have had more conviction with some of the others.

There is always next time, of course. Luckily or unluckily as it is.

Image is © Saku Smith aka CreatoreMagico
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anonymous's avatar
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Herowebcomics's avatar
Actualy, a person who was born with male parts can not get female parts.
And a person who was born with female parts can not get male parts.
DarkVikingMistress's avatar
DarkVikingMistressStudent Writer
I feel like the first question is well meaning but kind of backhanded. The whole boy or girl parts thing is weird though. Genitals are personal unless you're having sex with someone.
X12-1992's avatar
If a person is openly transgender is it wrong to say "You give me hope" (that its possible for me to transition too)" ?
cambiare-magico's avatar
cambiare-magicoHobbyist Traditional Artist
I don't think so. Personally, I would be honored and touched if someone sad that to me. In the transgendered community, people who are openly trans all seem to want to help others on their journeys from what I've seen. It likely depends on who you are saying it to, but for me I can personally say I'd be happy to receive such a compliment.
FloralFruit's avatar
FloralFruitHobbyist Writer
People need to think:
1.If a person loses weight,do I give them that kind of reaction?"Oh,you look so slim.I never would have guessed that you used to be so fat".
Most people don't.

2.Is it any of my business?
No,if you're not the surgeon,it's not your business.

3."Do I need to know they're old name?Do I really need to?Is it relevant?If it is,is it an important part needed for understanding?"
The answer is almost always no unless you're the person handling the name change documents or related documents.Besides,not every transgender person changes their name,even if it isn't traditionally used for the gender they identify as.

4.What's below a person's waist is their business.
cambiare-magico's avatar
cambiare-magicoHobbyist Traditional Artist
These are definitely all good things to think on before asking questions. For me I like to remember these sorts of things as things to ask back in response to questions. If someone asks me what my name used to be, I can then respond by saying 'why do you ask?' or 'what made you ask that?'
hermafrodite's avatar
hermafroditeHobbyist Photographer
the answer to the questions and statement in discription
1:thank you
2:i havint yet
4:lady parts so far not likie it matters
ClayrSeer's avatar
1.  I know.  It is hard to believe I am an android
2. Which surgery?  I have had several surgeries
3. Which name?  I have changed it several times in my life for a variety of reasons.
4. Depends on if that is a mathematical or or if that is an exclusive or.
cambiare-magico's avatar
cambiare-magicoHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for your comment. It's interesting to see that some people don't find the questions invasive at all, and are happy to answer them on a public forum. Even so, the fixation on these kinds of facts does seem to distract from the real issues trans people face, which is what my work is really about.
KeahtasRage's avatar
KeahtasRageHobbyist Artist
I hate the lack of decency many Trans* men and woman are given in normal, everyday circumstances. I mean, would anyone go around and ask questions about a cis* person's genitals?

Moreover, what does it matter what your name was, or how you looked before? That was an entirely different vessel, a different shell - you're heart and soul is the same, and you're the same you've always been. Again, that's digging into a very personal past, that no one seems to understand.

An appropriate question would be, "What pronoun do you prefer, if any?" or "What name are you comfortable with me using?"

Also, I hope you no longer feel obligated to answer anything.
cambiare-magico's avatar
cambiare-magicoHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you so much for your comment. I think after spending time making work like this, I'm better equipped to answer the questions in the way I feel is best. I have the work in mind that way, to remind me not to shut down and just answer the questions but instead explain why the questions are inappropriate.
nekophoenix's avatar
nekophoenixProfessional Traditional Artist
Side note - LOVING the expressions in this <3 And oh my, where on earth would you have gotten such a fabulous pixel necklace?!

I like to think that a lot of questions come from a place of ignorance but that doesn't make it hurt any less, and I really do get tired of being like... some sort of go-to FAQ for all questions gender and sexuality based pertaining to myself. I actually did used to think it was sort of my duty to educate them, like you! Like I was under some sort of obligation to explain myself. But unless I've actually put it out there for questioning, why on earth should I be open to a barrage of them? Making other people understand me ISN'T my duty.

I do think the worst line of questioning, and I've come across this a LOT, is when they ask you questions and you entertain them, only to be met with "nah, I don't get it, I still think blahblahblah". Sorry, this isn't a sodding opinion poll about who I am and what I like. You can't just go "well, I don't like it, so therefore you're lying". You don't NEED to "get it" because you don't have to live as me! (I get this SO SODDING MUCH in relation to the fact I'm a... well, a soft butch person going out with another butch person. Apparently, in the straight AND in the LGBTQ community, this is unheard of, because someone needs to be the "man" and if I've "gone to the bother" of liking women, why don't I like "REAL women")

I feel like I'm not making much sense hahhaa
cambiare-magico's avatar
cambiare-magicoHobbyist Traditional Artist
You make all the sense! I always appreciate your comments and insight to your experiences as well!

There is a fantastic book called 'Anything that loves' with some amazing comics in it dealing with gender and sexuality issues. You would adore it, it really goes into how even in the LGBTQ community, there is still a lot of prejudice and assumption about what is and isn't understandable behaviour.

Your situation is a lot like how bisexual people get lumped into the categories of 'greedy,' 'deviant' or 'undecided' when they are none of those things, they are bisexual. People find it SO hard to understand, but really the issue is WHY do they NEED to understand? It's nothing to do with them or their sex life. You don't owe anybody any explanation for just being yourself.  Same way asexual people get questioned to death about why they are asexual. HOW is it anyone's business but their own?

The reason I like to try and answer questions these days isn't because I feel obligated, but more because I want to. I feel like I've put my artwork out there for that reason, so I'm open to it as an individual!

assipattle's avatar
In a way this reminds me of people who, perfectly well meaning, ask me or my parents what's 'wrong' with my sister when we're out and about. It's rude and (to a much lesser extent than your questions are) prying, and they genuinely don't see what's wrong with asking them. Explanations can be hard to give - it took me a long time to have the guts to say 'nothing' when they asked because I was worried about it being rude to THEM!

I think you're doing a good job with beginning to inform people that these sorts of questions about you and your body aren't the sorts of things that they should be asking. It takes time to work up to being able to say it, so don't worry about it. If it happens again (knock on wood that it won't be for a while or at all), then I'm sure you'll have more conviction to say so to them!
cambiare-magico's avatar
cambiare-magicoHobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm happy this reminded you of your own situation with your sister, because I think it applies to anyone with a protected characteristic. It's so hard to know what the proper etiquette is to satisfy curiosity. People do need to ask questions from time to time, but they need to pick the right ones and not be offended when they don't get answers if it's none of their business. I think your answer to that particular question is perfect now, well done for getting yourself to that point.

Next time it happens to me, I think I'm going to pause for a moment and then try harder than I've ever tried before to explain why the questions are offensive. I only hope when the time comes I can do it. Thank you for your support as always!
sheworlds's avatar
sheworldsHobbyist Writer
I love this one!  And as usual, your colors and shading are just awesome.  I love the humor here. <3
cambiare-magico's avatar
cambiare-magicoHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you. It was actually kiyobean who came up with this joke as she was watching me scribble. I found it so funny I had to run with it. <3
drazzi's avatar
drazziHobbyist Digital Artist
I would move her bubble above and yours down, because that flows better for the reading, being as which bubble you should read first and all. /panelist.

I'm glad you got two pieces done already this year bb! You're doing so well!

The "what was your name before" thing is always so strange to me. Its like... what does it matter? You're talking to a person NOW so call them what they are NOW thing. Its a name change, its no longer what it was. Its this now.

I can never leave you intelligent comments on these bb, I'm so sorry <3 I'm just always like "idg people."

cambiare-magico's avatar
cambiare-magicoHobbyist Traditional Artist
You always leave lovely comments. Thank you for the suggestion, I'll try and do that now! I didn't think it looked right but you weren't here for me to pester when I was putting it together because you were hard at work. You know I usually defer to you on all things comicish. <3
decacerata's avatar
I love this Ku! And it made me think about how people also ask these questions to a third party in reference to someone that is trans.  My father, for example, pulled me aside when my friend's girlfriend was at the house and started asking me all these "pre-op or post-op" questions. My response was that it was not my place to tell him that, which I guess is the best I could have done in that situation. 

I'll never understand the interest in what is in someone else's pants.  I never look at someone and think "hmmm, penis or vagina??" so I don't know. I don't get it.

I always enjoy seeing the little comic-y pieces of your real life experiences. :) <3 xx
cambiare-magico's avatar
cambiare-magicoHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you so much Kinks. Yes you are right, friends of trans people probably get it way more often, thinking about it. It's much easier to approach a third party than the person themselves. You handled yourself very well, especially considering the way your dad is!

Thank you so much for the comment and taking time to come over here and look at my scribbles. <3
kuface's avatar
kuface Artist
Looking at it from the other side I get the feeling This is like when one is, for example not used to seeing a physical dissability in somebody and when confronted feels embarrased and tounge tied and comes out with all sorts of absurdities and ridiculouse comments to break the ice.I think your research is helpfull and progressive ,my little pioneer! and i am keenly interested and fascinated with your journey and all that you are learning and teaching us all with your kind and sensitive nature. Thank you for linking me to your page, love it! love you Kuface mum xxxx
cambiare-magico's avatar
cambiare-magicoHobbyist Traditional Artist
Mum, you are wonderful. I am sure people have a lot of questions for you as well, when you tell them your son is transgender they must ask a lot of invasive things. You can tackle them however you see fit of course, but maybe as well you will remember that you only need to answer questions if you want to! After all, I'm sure no one asks about my sisters body parts. (Or maybe they do, she is a stunning girl!)

Love you very very much. :hug:
kiyobean's avatar
kiyobeanStudent Traditional Artist
That derpy little face is just perfect, so cute! ^_^

It's hard to tell people that they're being offensive when their intentions are good. But if I was in their position, I would rather be told, so that I don't repeat the mistake.

Still, I dream of one day being offended by being told I look "real"   :p
anonymous's avatar
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