Dr. Leis Tells You How to be PC with a TG

| May 4, 2015

(Philadelphia, PA) From Chaz Bono to Chelsea Manning, and now Bruce Jenner, Olympic gold medalist and patriarch of a famous Hollywood family, transgenderism is becoming more prevalent all around us. There has been a significant increase in media interest in transgender news and issues this year. Even in the entertainment industry there has been an increase in the number of transgender characters included in mainstream plays and television shows, such as the popular Orange is the New Black, on Netflix.

That being said, world renown transgender surgeon and founder of the Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery, Dr. Sherman Leis, says, “It shouldn’t come as a shock to people should they happen to encounter a trans person within some aspect of their everyday life.” He goes on to say that befriending, working with, or otherwise interacting with a trans person is not scary or difficult. “Most of my patients are more than happy to share their stories and understand that people are curious about the subject, but it is important for people to be respectful and to use the correct terms,” he said. Therefore, Dr. Leis has compiled a list of six tips to keep in mind when interacting with a trans person:

1) Treat trans people as you would treat any other person. There is no need to treat this person any differently or to call attention to the fact that they are transgender with winks, jokes, or innuendos, even if you are just trying to express your acceptance of this person.

2) Use the correct name and pronoun. The correct name is whatever name the person has given you and the correct pronoun is to whichever gender the person presents themselves as. If you are unsure, names can usually be used as a clue, or just politely ask.

3) If you mistake the name or a pronoun, just move on. If you are in a crowd of people, don’t draw attention to the mistake, if you are alone with the person, apologize, drop it, and be sure to use the correct name and pronoun the next chance you get.

4) Don’t touch the person inappropriately or ask personal questions unless you are invited to do so. Most trans people are very open to answering your questions if you ask them in a respectful manner. Touching a person’s body part to see if it’s “real” is never acceptable.

5) Don’t “out” a trans person. Being transgender is sometimes a very private matter, it is inappropriate for you to mention anything that would “out” this person if you are with them in a public setting.

6) Don’t make assumptions. Don’t assume that the trans person you are talking to is straight, gay, conservative, liberal, happy, or unhappy; each trans person is very different.

Dr. Sherman Leis is one of the world’s pre-eminent transgender surgeons and founder of The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery, in Bala Cynwyd, PA. It is recognized as one of the leading facilities in the world specializing in gender reassignment surgery.

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Category: Body & Soul

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