Usually, the terms “transgender” and “transsexual” are used interchangeably- the latter often considered outdated or even offensive by some members of the transgender community. However, many people argue that there is a use for the term “transsexual”, and that it is acceptable when being used to differentiate between trans people yet to undergo any form of gender-affirming procedures (providing they choose to do so) and those who have, with the term in question pertaining to the latter group of non-cisgender people.
In my personal opinion, the term “transsexual”, like many other terms once considered acceptable, has had its time in the sun- and now it's time to take the old word out back and go all Old Yeller on it. My reasoning for this is that using the term to refer to those having reached a certain milestone in transition creates a false dichotomy and unnecessary separation between members of the transgender community, as well as putting pressure on those less far into their transition due to the entire separate descriptor. Also, when the word “transsexual” was the accepted term, it phased out earlier, cruder words such as “tr*nny”. Surely, with this evolution of vocabulary, we should now phase out the older terminology in favour of “transgender”?
No, says Trans man Sam Pidgeon. His opinion on this subject is the following: “Some cis people use it as an insult and it's got other issues connected with the word itself so I see how some young Trans people don't like it and would consider it a slur. However, I know older generations of Trans people might identify with it, as it was the word used in their time, so it's a bit iffy in where I stand with it.” This argument presents a new dimension to the debate: that of age. To many elderly liberals, “transsexual” may be considered acceptable because of the time it was used, while many transgender people in that age range are also more than happy to identify with the term, something younger generations in the LGBTQ+ community are less willing to do. Does this show that the term is inoffensive and okay?
Young transgender person Ash Kennedy argues that it doesn't, and that the term is still stigmatised and outdated. He agrees with the dichotomy-related point earlier in the article, and goes as far to suggest that the word is used to “demonise trans people”, in addition to it being “another way for cis people to find out about Trans people’s genitals”. Ash also brought up a very interesting point which is the word “transsexual’s long history within the transgender fetishisation community, a history that has ravaged the once-good reputation of the word and given it a fall from grace even Lucifer would be proud of. This point leads onto the claiming of the term by cis men who cross-dress. I, for one, have nothing against the crossdressing community, but I also believe that they should not use words that may intertwine them too closely with the transgender community, due to the reinforcement of negative stereotypes that reduce transgender people to nothing but crossdressers.
So, having seen and analysed the information given, what's my standpoint in this vernacular debate? Honestly, I'm not sure. However, I'm more than sure you can formulate your opinions, and remember- no matter your opinion, stand by it, because you're strong.
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