“I’m Just Saying!”

I responded to a post earlier today which delved into the topic of defining evolving terminology with regard to gender and sex.  My response was not a critique of the content. As far as I was concerned, the post covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time and wordage.

The problem I was having is grammatical. It might seem irrelevant to the topic of gender and sex so please bear with me. I also will iterate that these are my personal observations and evaluations and in no way am I going to get into a discussion or argument about what I am presenting here. If you want to comment in that direction, you are free to do so but you’ll get no further argument from me.  I also would prefer that if you want to express a different take on the topic, go ahead and start your own blog and post to it, if you haven’t already done so..

I observed that twice the author employed the phrase “off of” where the preposition “on” would not only have been more grammatically correct, to me, it makes the entire concept presented easier to grasp. The example I chose to illustrate my point is “[A} ‘transgender‘ {person} is any person who feels that their gender is not aligned with the gender binary based off of their biological sex. ” If I substitute “on” in place of “off of”  then the phrase becomes “[A] transgender is any person who feels that their gender is not aligned with the gender binary based on their biological sex.”  Can you see the difference? How do both phrases compare with respect to grasping the concept?  If you can’t see the difference, it’s okay.

While language usage in speaking between different regions or ethnic groups can vary greatly, as with the variations between Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, the usage will become a cultural norm within the sub-culture in which the speaker and/or listener are raised.  However, in presenting concepts to a larger community of readers, speakers and listeners, it is often necessary to find a common ground in not only in vocabulary and language usage, but in pronunciation and accentuation, accent for short.  For that reason, in the US, newscasters or other individuals on radio and television from different backgrounds who speak to a larger national English-speaking audience are trained to speak in what is referred as “Middle American English.

Another grammatical problem I was having is with the pluralization of the word “transgender” as in “Some types of transgenders.” During the past two years in transition and thoroughly examining the topic of gender and sex in all of its sub-topics (gender vs sex or orientation vs identity), I rarely recall ever hearing or seeing the term transgender in plural form. In relation to that, I want to mention that there are differing opinions about whether “transgender” is a noun, an adjective, an adverb or all three. I am in the school of thought where “transgender” is an adjective, as in “transgender woman” or “transgender persons.” Even the use of “persons” instead of “people” as a noun, changes the perceived meaning. Where “people” seems to put an individual into a category, which to me can be as problematic as a label, “persons” seems to better serve to describe a group of people having similar qualities although those qualities within that common group can be quite diverse in nature and it doesn’t seem to have the problem that seems to contribute to stereotyping.

To say a person is “a transgender,” which is a noun by virtue of the indefinite article “A”, it’s usage seems to have devolved into using slang like “tranny” which can provoke a similar response as using the “N” word with regard to race where the more prevalent usage today is becoming “people of color” rather than “colored people” or “African-American.” On that subject, I want to  mention that my older brother had genetic testing for the purpose of confirming a rumor that a member of our family tree married a “Native American”.  The results were mind-blowing.  It showed that our genetic heritage revealed not only Norse and Slavic origins, which was no surprise because my father’s ancestry includes English and Norwegian roots and my mother Polish roots, it also revealed roots from Africa, by way of the Caribbean, one of the vectors of the African slave trade in the pre-Revolutionary Era of American history,

Getting back on topic, as an adverb, “transgender” becomes “transgendered” which can imply that a person becomes “transgendered” rather than being born “transgender.” I don’t think of myself as being born “a transgender,” I think of myself as being born “transgender” as opposed to being born “male”, “female” or something in-between. I know the indefinite and definite articles “a” and “the” are sometimes used before those terms, but that is beside my point.

In the parlance of our time “I’m just saying.”

Deanna Joy

About Deanna Joy Hallmark

I am a post-op transgender woman who has now completed transition and living my life as the woman I was born to be. I have been writing my blog, now titled "A Spy in the Enemy Camp - A transgender woman’s perspective from having lived as a man among men" since December 2011. Originally a record of my process and feelings in transition, last summer in 2013 it took on observations from both sides of the gender binary and now will also be looking at my past life pretending to be the man I never was and how it finally brought me to where I am today, the beautiful intelligent woman I had always believed I should have been since I was little.
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