Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why we use the asterisk ~Sevan

So, if transgender is an "umbrella term"...what's the need for "trans*"? 

Simply put; there shouldn't be a need for it. However; there is. Transgender is often shortened to trans and can be interpreted as trans-male or trans-female, and many gender variant/non-cis identified people feel left out or unsure if their identity is included and being thought about. 

When I see a blog post, article or other written materials that don’t have the asterisk I wonder if they are including me and those like me. If I see a support group, brochure about transgender identities or an advertisement about a presentation that doesn’t use the asterisk I wonder if I’m welcome in that space.

My understanding is that the asterisk came from internet search structure. When you add an asterisk to the end of a search term, you’re telling your computer to search for whatever you typed, plus any characters after. Such as: trans*-gender, -queer, -sexual, etc. No idea if that’s the truth of the matter…but that’s the general “mythos” behind where the asterisk came from.

So if you, or your organizations is trying to be open and accessible by all trans* people; make sure to use the asterisk to verify to all people that you have taken the time, and intention to invite and welcome all trans* people.

Even within my local trans* support group; our name has “trans*” in it; Spokane Trans* People. All of our educational materials and presentations have trans* in it. We are committed to being open to all in the umbrella. 

Sam over at posted about this, and created this awesome graphic.  Click it to see his take on it.