Words as Violence

Words as Violence

[TW misgendering, slurs]

Words have meaning, and words have power.

The things you say may seem innocuous to you, but they can have devastating effects on others.

For example: calling me a woman when I am not is really fucking horrible. Especially if I gently correct you, and you shout back that you know better than me.

Words like that are violence, and can do more lasting damage than any physical attack.

There’s the obvious things, like “jokes” about trannies, actively refusing to use a trans person’s pronouns or name, outing them to others without permission.

But there are more insidious ways of causing damage.

The making a huge deal every time a trans friend gently reminds you that you’ve gotten something wrong, making out like you’re an awful person, or that they’re a burden for making you have to remember this oh so difficult thing.

The talking over your friend as though you’re more of an expert about their life than they are.

The refusal to do your own research, and constantly using your friend for emotional labour and teaching moments.

Not that your friend doesn’t want you to ask questions and learn more about them. Of course we do, but you need to do it in a respectful way.

Some trans folks are lucky, they know they are trans from a young age and are given full support from their families. Some of us have literal decades of battling with our own sense of identity and internalised bigotry taught by our parents. It takes a long time to unpack, and can be traumatic.

You can’t always tell when trans person has had which upbringing.

So be kind. Think before you speak. Your words may do more damage than you realise.


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