When Google autocorrects a term so widely used in media, that should tell you something. When the term is reminiscent of an outdated offensive term to discuss people (see the term: "colored people"), that should also tell you something. That term so widely used today is the term "transgendered." Transphobic "critics" and allies alike use the term in conversation, and written/spoken media. As a transgender identified teen constantly navigating media in this day and age, the use of the term stings.
Just two weeks ago, I was shocked to see the term in a local news source like Louisville, Kentucky's LGBT+ friendly LEO Weekly. Ethan Smith's "15 Years of Pride" article stated: "There was no talk of equal rights, marriage equality, or acceptance of transgendered people." (17.6.2015, p. 9). In reading about my city's history of pride celebrations, I was immediately turned off. Why? Leo Weekly has been such an affirming and positive source of news and opinion for individuals like me in the Louisville-metro area, and it still is. But why was I hurt? Well, "Transgendered" implies a past-tense connotation. I am a transgender male. I didn't just magically "transgender" this way. (To quote Lady Gaga, "Baby, I was BORN this way!") I did go through an initial transition, but being transgender is a crucial part of my identity that I self-identify and hold on to as coming out helped me gain the confidence I needed to continue in professional and social endeavors in high school and beyond. Being transgender is a part of me and is nothing of the past-tense as it is for many other individuals.
A week after I found the term in local media, I began reading a public policy analysis book by David Rayside called Queer Inclusions, Continental Divisions: Public Recognition of Sexual Diversity in Canada and the United States. Already, on the 6th page, "transgendered" was the catch-all denomination. Seeing such an incorrect and overlooked term amongst heavily researched material was bewildering. I finally got to thinking more about this term's effects when I began to watch the positive transgender-focused docu-drama on ABC Family, Becoming Us, where the term was used heavily by teenagers dealing with their parent's gender identities (Episodes 1-4). While this show was supposedly unscripted, I felt like the prior knowledge gained by these individuals and the LGBT positive production company would have lured them away from use of the term. Because of ABC Family's broad audience, the use of this terminology disappointed me due to the reach of misinformation.
Many of you are probably thinking: If this term is used so much, it must be correct, right? (Even if it does sting) Nope, not at all. First off, the term "transgendered" is grammatically incorrect (and sure enough, as I type this, the term keeps getting underlined in bright red by my word processor). The word "transgender" is an adjective to describe a person or multiple people just as the terms "gay", "straight", "male", and "female" are. You wouldn't say "The gayed and lesbianed communities celebrated the recent Supreme Court ruling", would you? Not just that, "transgendered" is not even in the dictionary as a term. The Oxford Dictionary doesn't list it. I mean, come on now, the word "muggle" is used less, but it's still in the Oxford dictionary.
So to persons in media and otherwise, do you want to be politically correct, up to date, and inoffensive? Here's what you can do: use the term "transgender." You can say "transgender person/people/community/individual/male/female." So with that: "Casey, a transgender man is now ending his piece for the Huffington Post in hopes that his readers have learned something and will think twice about correct terminology."