“So, what’s your real name?”

“Do you mean before or after I get married?”

“No, like, your reeeal name?”

“Well then, Vivian Valengavich.”

“Are you just trying to get free stuff from guys?”

“You mean you weren’t giving me that laptop you’re carrying?”

“Are you getting the surgery?”

“I think they’re nice enough now, I have a feeling my fiance would agree.”

“But what about the hair on your face?”

“I’m at least three percent sure you have eyebrows too.”

“I thought you’d looked really handsome as a boy.”

“Aww, I was going for cute all these years. Am I doing a better job?”

“Are you one of those man hating feminazis?”

“Only if you don’t stop talking.”

“So like, you want to be a girl but, also a Chemistry researcher?”

“What year is this, 1970?”

“What bathroom do you use?”

“The one in my apartment is nice, but the student center isn’t bad either.”

“You’re not just going in there to like, look at girls, are you?”

“I suppose I could say the same thing about you when you go to the bathroom, couldn’t I?”

“So you’re a cross-dresser right?”

“Not right now, no. When I borrow my fiance’s clothes, technically I suppose.”

“Can I still call you [deadname]?”


“You know, you don’t have to be a girl to have emotions right?”

“It sure does help though, doesn’t it?”

“Does your fiance know?”

“No. Please don’t tell him.”

“What does your family think about it?”

“The general answer to that question is ‘Not much.’”

“How’s your sex life?”

“There are some doors best left unopened.”

“Nice to meet you Vivian, can I ask you your pronouns?”

“Thank you so much. She/Her/Hers.”

Now, being rude is not acceptable. But, whenever I’m asked these questions I think of all of these and more, because while I can understand being curious about something, it’s always better to think before you ask a transgender or nonbinary individual these questions.

Please, ensure that the person you are asking is comfortable talking about themselves, or has brought it up themselves, and is open to questions. If they are not, you should refrain from asking them at all.

So, if you want to ask something like, “Are you like a cross-dresser?” you should rephrase it to something like, “What’s the difference between crossdressing and being transgender?” This will help to make it seem like you’re curious, not trying to be offensive. If there are questions you really want answered, but can’t ask anyone in person, there is bound to be an answer somewhere on the internet.

Finally, please ask an individual’s pronouns once you’ve met them, or introduce yourself with your own so they feel more comfortable saying theirs, there’s nothing more affirming for someone using pronouns that aren’t the same as they ones they were given at birth than being asked which ones they use.

Vivian Valengavich can be contacted at vvalengavich@kscequinox.com

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