Trans Talk 101: Transgender Defamatory Terms

Transgender Defamatory TermsCheck out what you shouldn't be using when referring to transgender people online, when you write, etc.

Part Three of this Series focuses on transgender defamatory terms that often are misused 

By: Christine Nicco/TRT Reporter—

Part 3 of a 3 Part Series

In the final installment of this three-part series, The Rainbow Times has compiled a list of defamatory terms to avoid when discussing issues of gender identity, particularly transgender identities. The first part of the series explored a list of common—and not so common—words and phrases used when discussing gender identity. Part two of the series discussed terms to avoid in the trans community.

Defamatory Terms

Defamatory: “deceptive,” “fooling,” “pretending,” “posing,” “trap,” or “masquerading”

Gender identity is an integral part of a person’s identity. Do not characterize transgender people as “deceptive,” as “fooling” or “trapping” others, or as “pretending” to be, “posing” or “masquerading” as a man or a woman. Such descriptions are defamatory and insulting.

Defamatory: “tranny,” “she-male,” “he/she,” “it,” “shim”

These words dehumanize transgender people and should not be used in mainstream media. The criteria for using these derogatory terms should be the same as those applied to vulgar epithets used to target other groups. While some transgender people may use “tranny” to describe themselves, others find it profoundly offensive.

Defamatory: “bathroom bill”

A term created and used by far-right extremists to oppose non-discrimination laws that protect transgender people. The term is geared to incite fear and panic at the thought of encountering transgender people in public restrooms. Simply refer to the non-discrimination law/ordinance instead.

To learn more about transgender terminology, visit The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) at GLAAD can be reached at and the University of California San Francisco’s Center for Excellence for Transgender Health can be found at

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1 Comment on "Trans Talk 101: Transgender Defamatory Terms"

  1. I still like ‘Tranny’ or ‘Trannie.’ Maybe it’s an Australian thing.

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