It may feel that the world is getting more and more progressive when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues, but when you become a part of this community you start to realise just how much further we are yet to go. Transgender Day of Remembrance honours all the trans people who have lost their lives thanks to transphobic violence.

Trans Pride

Trans Pride

This year alone has seen 331 recorded killings of trans and gender diverse people according to Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide. A shocking figure which proves that the world still has a lot to learn about trans issues. People judge and hate what they don't understand, so in a bid to educate the uninformed about this wonderful community, we have eight things you need to know about trans people.

1. What's in their pants is none of your business

We get how this kind of curiosity can be overwhelming when you are not familiar with trans bodies, but just as you wouldn't ask a cis person what their genitals look like, you should never ask a trans person what they have "down there". Nor should you ask if they've had surgery, if they're going to have surgery or how they have sex. It's literally none of your business unless you're entering into a sexual relationship with them.

2. You can't tell if someone is transgender by looking at them

Don't assume you know a trans person when you see one. Men and women come in all different shapes and sizes, and how someone dresses does not necessarily dictate their gender identity. If you find yourself unsure of the correct pronouns to use when referring to another person, ask someone who knows for sure or introduce yourself with your preferred pronouns.

3. You don't know their story

It doesn't matter how many stories you've read or heard about that are similar in relation to trans people's journeys, never make assumptions about someone's story. Don't assume they've had a difficult time trying to gain acceptance, that they've showed signs of being trans since they were a child, that they want/have had surgery or hormone treatments, or that they started out as a gay cis person before they realised they were trans. Everyone has had a different journey and while there may be similarities between some trans people's stories, it doesn't mean that they apply to everyone.

4. Transgender women are "real women" and transgender men are "real men"

While a lot of trans people have no shame with using the "trans" label, the fact is most trans people would just like to be seen as the gender they identify with just like anybody else. Trans women are as much "real women" as those who have identified as women since birth. While the TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) of the world would have you believe otherwise because, in their opinion, trans women simply haven't had the same struggles as cis women, the fact is we have all had different struggles as individuals and they by no means define our genders.

5. Someone can identify as transgender no matter what stage of their transition

The term "transgender" refers to anyone who does not personally identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender reassignment surgery is not a prerequisite for being transgender. A trans person is still trans even if they have not undergone any physical transformation; they may not have even told anyone about their identity struggles. This doesn't make them any less of a transgender person.

6. Gender identity and sexual orientation are completely different things

There seems to be this misconception that trans people start out as identifying as gay, and when they transition they begin identifying as straight. The truth is that a person's gender identity does not dictate their sexual orientation by any means. For example, there are plenty of gay men and women out there who also happen to be trans. Being attracted to the opposite sex and also wanting to BE the opposite sex is a perfectly normal thing.

7. Being attracted to a trans person does not change your sexual orientation

If you are a straight women who is a attracted to a trans man, or a straight man attracted to a trans woman, you are still straight. That's sort of the point. There may or may not be sexual hurdles to overcome when entering a relationship with a trans person, but trans men are men and trans women are women. End of story.

8. What's in their past is none of your business

Some trans people may have no problem telling you about their life pre-transition, but that does not mean you can ask every trans person you ever meet what their previous name was (their "dead name" as it were), what age they transitioned, what they looked like before etc. Some people find it very uncomfortable to talk about life before they transitioned, especially if their journey has been particularly traumatic. So leave out the personal questions.

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