So I got called out on something today and I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about something here.
For starts, I want to make it clear that I am borderline militant in my support of transgender rights, and if you follow my Tumblr you probably already know this. I am also pansexual and although I am for all intents and purposes cis, I am very gender "meh" - I'm very comfortable with being female, but I have absolutely no problem with and enjoy passing for, being thought of, or being referred to as non-female. Basically all that matters to me is that I look hot when I leave the house. So I do have a BIT of a purely personal interest in gender identity rights as well as being supportive of others.
Which brings me to my point, which is that someone called me out for the use of the t-word in the description of some artwork I posted in 2010. This was NEVER intended to be malicious - at the time, I thought it was a cute short form of a word to describe a man who likes to wear dresses, makeup, high heels etc but is perhaps flexible on what gender he passes for (at least I think that's what I thought?? That's what I recall thinking but the use was wonky for that, which shows how little I knew about gender identity back then). I don't know what in the world made me think that, although recently I was shocked to see the word chucked about in a similar context in a dubbed episode of Ouran High School Club, so perhaps it was something like that. Clearly I've since learned better, but I had entirely forgotten that I had actually used it there until it was pointed out to me.
Unfortunately, I think misconceptions like this happen SUPER often. I know it's happened to me on more occasions than this - most recently with the term genderb**d, which I had thought was a word that had sort of come into being and was used exclusively as a synonym for "rule 63" - and the point I want you guys to take away is this:
If you are referring to any group that has been and/or continues to be marginalized, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do your homework on the terms you use to refer to them, because the problem that occurs is that when a group is so maligned for so long, pretty much every term, even on the off chance that it started out innocuous, develops a pretty nasty history, and you'd be amazed at how often people just obliviously toss around slurs. There are also terms that are sort of under debate within communities, and it may be better to try to avoid them to stay out of internal politics that doesn't really involve you.
To conclude, I know a lot of people say things like, "I'm always learning, so don't hold me accountable for things I thought years ago!" but you know what? If you feel angry with me about this, that is TOTALLY valid, and you are absolutely allowed to hold me accountable for past ignorance. Not that you actually need my permission.
BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER!