20 Microaggressions Transgender People Are Tired of Hearing

20 Microaggressions Transgender People Are Tired of Hearing

Conventional wisdom tells us that backhanded compliments are not cute — as a matter of fact, they are not compliments at all. They’re nothing more than thinly disguised insults, and when it comes to marginalized groups, they’re frequently microaggressions. By definition, a microaggression is a comment or action that expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group.

I am a black transgender woman, and I face these microaggressions daily, while scrolling through Tinder or simply walking down a sidewalk minding my own business. Microaggressions surrounding my gender identity can come in the form of “I didn’t know you were trans, you look just like a woman!” or “You’re cute for a trans!” — lest we forget that the word transgender is not a noun or a verb and therefore should not be used with such incorrect and offensive grammar.

I am also a transgender woman with passing privilege and one who is garnered conventionally pretty. However, although these conventional privileges allow me safer access to spaces that others within my community may not be awarded, I am doubly marginalized as a black person and transgender woman. If I am not clocked as transgender, I still face the various microaggressions that come with being a black girl; expressions such as “you’re pretty for a black girl” or “what are you mixed with?” or harassment such as touching my hair or questioning my intellect on a given subject.

These types of microaggressions aren’t just situational to me but to the transgender community as a whole. Every day, cisgender people harass my community with these forms of microaggression — even if it’s unintentional. With that in mind, I asked people in the transgender and nonconforming community to share microaggressions they have experienced at least once in their lifetimes in the hopes of educating everyone on what qualifies as a compliment — and what’s downright offensive.


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