Why “Transgender” is Better Than “Transgendered”
It’s largely linguistic in reasoning!
The -ed removes agency and passivizes the modified subject. That morpheme suggests that the subject is operated upon, transgender-ed, by something (presumably society), and is thus altered from an original (“normal” - cisgender) state.
As evidence: there is a fairly common faulty back-formation, the verb “to transgender,” from “to be transgendered.” This is sometimes used to mean “to transition,” which is a mistaken meaning of what transgender means anyway.
This phrasing basically posits nurture over nature (regardless of the individual’s personal feelings on their identity’s source), suggests being transgender is a result of brainwashing/group-think or faulty raising or some sort of change, and leads to a pathologizing and “cure”-based approach.
Of course any individual may prefer transgendered to transgender! I have heard some folks speak up and say that they do indeed feel society made them this way. Completely valid.
But as a universal application, it is far less neutral and leaves trans folks less room to position themselves, and honestly gives people the wrong overall impression and gives media pundits a subtle way to continue painting trans people as passive victims and objects.
It may not be a big issue, but it definitely does influence how people think, however subtly. Language is tricky that way!
A few of you sent me this link — thank you! Googling “transgender versus transgendered” didn’t bring it up. I knew it was “transgender” but I couldn’t figure out how to explain it. Many thanks to all the folks who helped me out :)
Oooh, this is a really good explanation.
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