Listening to the Trans Experience

Expanding the LGBTQ Conversation
July 14 2014 3:29 PM

Listen to Trans Australians Tell Their Stories

transstill
Just listen.

Still from "In My Shoes."

A common refrain among trans activists is “just listen,” and for good reason: Respectfully listening to the stories of trans people with an open mind is probably the quickest possible way to social justice. Of course, statistics being what they are, it’s entirely possible that many people won’t encounter a trans person in their everyday lives—which is why it’s great that The Gender Centre, an advocacy organization based in New South Wales, Australia, has produced a video that allows space for some of their clients to just speak for themselves.

The young trans adults featured in the documentary talk about all facets of the trans experience, and they echo a point about invasive medical questions articulated by Parker Marie Molloy in Outward last week: Stop asking. As one interviewee puts it: “I just want people to get that if you’re not OK with me asking about every little thing about your dick, don’t ask about mine.” It’s not a big request, but refraining from such questioning can go a long way toward making the world a more humane place for trans individuals. 

J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate assistant editor. He writes and edits for Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section, and for the culture section.