Simple comic explains how not to derail conversations about gender identity

[Read the post]


This is a required lesson for all, because it happens in every issue. Every single one. Let this be the issue that finally gets through to people that it’s their job to do basic research before breaking into someone else’s conversation.


The general consensus here appears to be that gender is not binary. It is a spectrum. and humans are allowed to identify themselves at different positions along that gender, irrespective of their genetic makeup or their physical appearance.

Okay. I’ll accept that for the purposes of discussion.

Does the same principle apply to racial and ethnic classifications? Or am I forever “Asian” regardless of what I may think?


In the spirit of the comic: start with this, and find out for yourself! :slight_smile:


The book analogy is perfect. I think the assumption that transgender or other people should have to stop and explain things to others is fostered by the frequency with which some of us encounter such people one-on-one. Because, y’know, not interrupting other peoples’ conversations and demanding they start from the beginning is basic courtesy.

And another thing to keep in mind is that even though we may speak of a “transgender community” every group is composed of individuals. Your transgender friend may be patient and happy to answer all your questions, but the answers are unlikely to be universally shared or applicable.


I think that it is gross that that Google has become The Great Educator.

Maybe I should have more Google Pride.


I feel special for knowing what “Protoss” means.


That’s a great article. Thank you.

Race clearly has a biological element – because we have awarded it one. Race is no more dependent on skin color today than it was on “Frankishness” in Emerson’s day.

Couldn’t agree more. I check “other” in the “race” or “ethnicity” box on any form that asks for it, because no form ever lists my race.


i find this incredibly frustrating and not a good way to build understanding. every other group that has suffered from discrimination has had to go through an educational period where members must explain to those outside the group what their experience is like and how to understand and negotiate it, and trans issues are even MORE complicated to many people than issues of race or sexuality. just telling people, “go google it or read these books” is off-putting, doesn’t build understanding, and, frankly, is lazy. oh, you get annoyed explaining “trans issues 101” over and over to people? welcome to the world. be happy people care enough to try to understand, take a breath and just DO it. eventually enough people will know and it will go away.


People are willing to explain it. LOTS of people are willing to explain it. Your problem is you’re demanding the time, effort, and pain of other people because you’re too lazy to use google to find somebody else who’s willing to explain this to you.

If you want to continue this conversation, I demand you explain how to drive a car, in complete detail to me. Sure, I could look at a book, take a class, or go google it… but I don’t want do that. I want you to explain it. If you refuse, you’re lazy - and a hypocrite!


There’s also the question of what information you want them to have. Answering questions gives you a certain amount of control over the flow of information. Let them fend for themselves, and they’re just as likely to stumble across something from the Family Research Council or AFA as they are from PFLAG.

I follow a minority religion, and and up getting the derailing questions on a regular basis as well- If I tried the “go look it up” approach, there’s a pretty good chance they’d come back a week later with “So, I looked it up, and I read that you sacrifice babies and want to destroy America.”



Like that’s a bad thing?


Wait wait wait. Before we discuss this, could you explain that for me?


If asking stupid questions becomes verboten we’re all going to be a bunch of bigger idiots than we already are.

That said, when participating in any sort of a discussion, there are plenty of ways to be a jerk or to avoid being a jerk.


You know, if I wanted to win people over to Starcraft as the greatest game franchise ever and get new people interested in playing, sneering “Go learn to use google” every time someone asked what the deal was with the Protoss, it probably wouldn’t work too well.

I guess you could argue most MOBA players are already there.


I agree with this article, but frankly speaking, Googling “Trans 101” brought back 314 million results, and most of the first 50 were pretty shallow. (At least, I hope everyone understands what “bisexual” means in the age of cable television.)

So in order to simultaneously perpetuate the stereotype of the comic (hey, LGBT people, come educate us morons for free!) but also hopefully end up with a useful resource for these sorts of conversations (and not just LMGTFY), I created a new Wikia:

Feel free to add articles on various terms used within the LGBT community to help provide a resource to send others to get educated when these types of derailments inevitably happen.

that is not what this comic is saying, though – it’s saying “no, don’t explain it because you have other more important discussions to have. tell them to google it.” and equating something like this with driving a car is just absurd. i’m not being a hypocrite – i’m being honest. i know and have known several trans people, and they have NEVER told me to “go google it” when i have questions, no matter how basic the question is to them… they always take the time to explain things. that is how you build understanding and acceptance. and, duh, of COURSE i read about such things on my own… that’s why i’m HERE. but if i want clarification from people who are on the front lines of experience, i go to people i know and trust, like anyone would.


Identity itself is the ultimate derail.