How to talk (and listen) to transgender people | Jackson Bird

How to talk (and listen) to transgender people | Jackson Bird

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Hi, I’m Jack, and I’m transgender. Let me take a guess at some of thoughts that might be running
through your head right now. “Transgender? Wait, does that mean that they’re
actually a man or actually a woman?” “I wonder if he’s had the surgery yet … Oh, now I’m looking at his crotch. Look to the right,
that’s a safe place to look.” “Yes, I knew it!
No real man has hips like those.” “My friend’s daughter is transgender — I wonder if they know each other.” “Oh my gosh, he is so brave. I would totally support his right
to use the men’s bathroom. Wait, but how does he use the bathroom? How does he have sex?” OK, OK, let’s stop
those hypothetical questions before we get too close for my comfort. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I did come here today to share
my personal experiences being transgender, but I did not wake up this morning
wanting to tell an entire audience about my sex life. Of course, that’s the problem
with being trans, right? People are pretty much always
wondering how we have sex and what kind of equipment
we’re working with below the belt. Being trans is awkward. And not just because the gender
I was assigned at birth mismatches the one I really am. Being trans is awkward because everyone else gets awkward
when they’re around me. People who support me and all other
trans people wholeheartedly are often so scared to say to wrong thing, so embarrassed to not know
what they think they should, that they never ask. Part of what was so nerve-racking
about coming out as transgender was knowing that people
wouldn’t know what I meant. And when someone comes out as gay, people know what that means, but when you come out as trans, you have to face the misconceptions that will color other people’s
impressions of you even after you’ve educated them … And you will have to educate them. When I came out, I wrote at 10-page encyclopedic document with a zip-file attachment
of music and videos that I sent to every
single person I came out to. (Laughter) And I kept it in my email signature
for months afterwards, because you also
don’t ever stop coming out. I came out to the accountant
helping me with my taxes and the TSA agents who didn’t know
which one of them should pat me down, the man or the woman. I mean, I just came out
to everyone watching this. When I came out to my dad, to my great relief, he was totally cool
with me being trans, but as soon as I started talking
about physically transitioning, he freaked. And I quickly realized it was because he,
like so many other people, think that physical transition
means just one thing: the surgery. Now, listen, if there were one magical surgery that could turn me into a tall, muscular, societally perfect image
of a man overnight, I’d sign up in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. There are dozens of different
gender-affirming surgeries from chest surgeries to bottom surgeries to facial feminization and man-sculpting. Many trans people will only ever undergo
one procedure in their lifetime, if that. Maybe because they don’t
personally feel the need but also because they’re expensive, and health insurance
is only beginning to cover them. Instead, the first step for a trans person
seeking physical transition is usually hormone replacement therapy. Hormones are why I have a deeper voice
and some sparse whiskers on my neck and a giant pimple on my chin. Basically, they put you
through a second puberty … it’s a blast. (Laughter) Now, because our transitions
are slower and steadier than historic misconceptions
can lead people to believe, there can be some confusion about when to call someone
by their new name and pronouns. There’s no distinct point
in physical transition at which a trans person
becomes their true gender. As soon as they tell you
their new name and pronouns, that’s when you start using them. It can be difficult to make the change. You might slip up here and there; I’ve slipped up myself
with other trans people. But I always think to myself, if we can change from calling
Puff Daddy to P. Diddy, and if we apologize profusely
when we’ve used the wrong gender pronoun for someone’s pet cat — I mean, I think we can make
the same effort for the real humans in our lives. Now, there is no topic that makes other
people more awkward about trans people than public bathrooms. Ah, the bathrooms — the latest political flash point
for LGBT opponents. Here’s a fun fact about bathrooms: more US congressmen have been convicted
of assaulting someone in a public bathroom than trans people have been. (Laughter) The truth is we trans people are so much
more scared of you than you are of us. It’s a huge point of discussion
in trans communities about which bathroom
to start using and when, so we don’t attract attention
that could lead to violence against us. I personally started using the men’s room when I started getting confused
and frightened looks in the women’s room, even though I was petrified
to start going into the men’s room. And often we opt to just
not go to the bathroom at all. A 2015 national survey of trans people found that eight percent of us
had had a urinary tract infection in the past year as a result of avoiding restrooms. These bathroom bills
aren’t protecting anyone. All they’re doing is ensuring that when trans people
are assaulted in bathrooms, the law will no longer be on our side
when we report it. Being trans means a daily onslaught
of these misconceptions. And I have it pretty easy. I am a white, able-bodied guy sitting nearly at the peak
of privilege mountain. For non-binary people, for trans women, for trans people of color, it is so much harder. So I’ve given you a starter pack
of trans knowledge that I hope will lead
to more learning on your own. Talk to trans people. Listen to us. Amplify our voices. Take the heat off of us
and educate those around you so we don’t have to every time. Maybe someday, when I say, “Hi, I’m Jack, and I’m transgender,” the only response I’ll get is, “Hi, nice to meet you.” Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “How to talk (and listen) to transgender people | Jackson Bird

  • Mike McGomer Post author

    If I need lessons about how to talk to someone then it's better to leave. I left.

  • Findoogle Post author

    Informative, thank you!

  • Tucker Busfield Post author

    There's separation in the orbs and it's all I could focus on

  • Roger Prodactor Post author

    Wow he got a lot of attention for himself being up on stage with as little Jack in the Box boom mic!

  • Black lives Dont matter Post author

    Why would I talk to someone who doesn't exist?

  • patday8428 Post author

    Is there a full video somewhere where you don't have to pay? I would like to here some of the audience questions and Jackson answer

  • NVD Herripotter Post author

    Why does he look/sound like matpat

  • Jwell Jrock Post author

    This is what happens when you brainwash children into a stupid idea , it is very easy to manipulate the weak minded !!

  • The Snowman Post author

    I'm here to support the trans community. I am transracial ( Black to Chinese) and also a homosexual Muslim. OUR STRUGGLE IS REAL !!!

  • Brandon Post author

    Is that a girl?

  • Aaron Carmody Post author

    I could have summarized this Ted talk in about 4 words, don't talk to them.

  • Aaron Carmody Post author

    Is it possible these people are just calling themselves trans because their butt ugly and had to concoct some activism to feel normal?

  • Shaggy Rogers Post author

    sorry I define as an attack helicopter

  • ken k Post author

    First to go.

  • Viscous Shear Post author

    Why would I listen to someone not even comfortable in their own skin?

  • mburi kiama Post author

    Transgenders are turning out to be the worst kind of bullies, if you dont take part in their mental illness.

  • Assad Ali Post author

    Adam and eve not Adam and Steve

  • DaQueen713 Post author

    All this is for attention and perversion.

  • Prison Mike Post author

    Sounds like a cartoon character.

  • Skelimanter Post author

    thank you Jackson for doing this

  • Lachlan Hoskinson Post author

    I really don't care if you're trans. I don't want to be educated on anything to do with it. I don't want to learn pronoun's. If you are a girl you should use the womens bathroom. If your a man use the men's. Just because your trans don't expect special privileges. Don't expect me to call you a girl or a boy if you are not. It's seriously not my business to care or now about it.

  • Onnah Moore Post author

    I love transgender people 😻😻😻

  • Jackson Smith Post author

    His intentions are good but I didn’t really learn much from this video, I don’t know if he had a time limit or anything but he could of said a lot more to education people

  • Michael Atcheson Post author

    My first thought is…
    I dont care at all.
    From the bottom of my heart it doesn't matter to me one bit.

  • J Sparker Post author

    That’s funny because I don’t talk to anybody differently just because of their beliefs. I don’t talk to Christians or Muslims differently why would I talk to you differently? Oh you think you’re special I get it now.

  • John Doe Post author

    I don't want to talk with crazy people

  • The RealButcher (Peter from Holland) Post author

    Oh man, how long does it take to get to the point..

  • Reddog5546 Post author

    Sounds like a personal problem lol

  • Yaz Zener Post author

    What is the video all about ok checking comments

  • Inesme pooki Post author

    I love this video and I wanna get more and more educated on this, hopefully soon society will evolve like he says. I just felt a bit awkward about how quiet the audience was, the boy made some good jokes okay…

  • Steve Jordan Post author

    Here's something really easy to understand: How to become a winner…just switch from male to female.
    Some guy gets turned into a girl, or just identifies as such, gets into track & field, and blows away the competition when the rest of the field is just girls who have always been girls.
    Want people to be able to take transgenders seriously? To not be biased against people who game the system to get track scholarships to college?
    Stop this:

  • P a n i c Post author

    What tf they are normal people there is no specific way to talk to them

  • Oh Yeah yeah Post author

    Trans people are wrong and disgusting

    Change my mind

  • LifeOf Axel Post author

    Step one to meeting a trans person
    -Say hi.

  • Ryan Thomas Post author

    I dont apologize when I misgender my friends cat. I go on and say he or she because I see the genitalia

  • Aaliyah White Post author

    My principal is transgender and wants us to watch this video.

  • Mhike Cyron Post author

    He is so handsome

  • HYUKLDER1 Post author

    Is a male who thinks he is a female or female who thinks she is a male categorised as 'learning difficulties' or 'mental illness'?

  • Chris Skidmore Post author

    My name is Chris and I'm transgender…. I was born a man but I identify as a lesbian woman….. But for some reason the gay and lesbian community will not let me in…. I've been in predominantly gay clubs and kicked out of the female restrooms…. I've tried to join groups that are predominantly lesbian and I am denied access or fellowship in these groups…..Their intolerance is absolutely bullshit….I'm fighting for the transgender movement but yet nobody is fighting for me….. Why is that??

  • Jason Gunn-Davis Post author

    She's out of her fucking mind.

  • Ishai Asedo Post author

    you can disguise yourself as much as you want you may even fool me, don't ask me to agree with your opinions.

  • Bashful Bones Post author

    As if anyone ACTUALLY WANTS TO listen to these things or its or whatever you call them things,

  • Creamapera Post author

    This is easy. You dont talk to them, and you certainly don't listen to them.

  • Party4Keeps Post author

    Talk to people like they're people, but, if someone feels the need to TELL me how to talk to them, then I'm not interested anyway.

  • ATasteOfTrans Post author

    This is a great video! We aren't some scary Frankenstein people, we're human just like everybody else. Its okay to ask questions!

  • Helen Paul Post author

    Its a very personal choice but these trans WANT THE WORLD to listen n accept their very private n personal inclination… my personal choice too that these r nothing but fake labelling of themselves

  • Mehoy Menoy Post author

    Ha gaaaaayyyyyy

  • Pluto Mist Post author

    *rubs hands* let's see who's attacking me today *scrolls to comments*

  • Rebekah Green Post author

    As a female, I draw the line at transwomen insisting that there is no difference between the two categories. I accept transwomen are "women" in the sociocultural context. I will not refer to myself as a 'cis' woman because my physical, phenotypical and biological being is WOMAN – AKA adult human female.

    Having said that, I don't consider myself better than a transwoman – we are different and always will be.

    I personally don't care if you "used to be a boy/man" or "used to be a woman/girl" – I am only interested in who you are as a person in terms of how you treat other people.

  • Joseph Harper Post author

    It's all self-inflicted. Rubbish. Hogwash. Balderdash. Call it whatever you want. I call her a woman because that is what she is. I don't live in a fantasy world. Don't expect me to conform to the one you live in.

  • Jeff Williams Post author

    These new terms are exhausting….

  • Barbra Hernandez Post author

    Still look like a woman you can change all you want but you can never change what God created you to be. What a hassle to go through so much surgeries and hormone therapies. Should have started with pastoral counseling now that change is unbelievable!!! God bless you.

  • Johnny Sam Post author

    It annoys me when people fake their beautiful life and body into a deformed messed up thing.

  • Amy Post author

    May God save you and pull you out of this trans lie. ❤️

  • Robert James Post author

    "Gender assigned at birth". That one always cracks me up! lol. They never forget their liberal talking points.

  • Rose Taylor Post author

    i want to be trans but dont know how to tell my mom…

  • Lillian Roux Post author

    Bravo Jack 💕

  • Mae Fisher Post author

    I want to be his friend. He seems like an awesome guy.

  • Ash Woodworth Post author

    I have gotten recorded by people coming out of bathrooms on their phones, regardless of the bathroom I use, is that what a normal thing society does that claims trans people don't have any issues going through life?

  • Whale Cat Post author

    Can't wait to see how many hate comments there are 😒

  • moonwalker things Post author

    You aren't assigned a gender. Your soul was meant to be male or female. Instead of accepting yourself, you wanted to change it.

  • Johnny Doe Post author

    "TED – Ideas worth sharing"
    Yes I feel so enlightened now that I know how trans people feel in the toilet.

  • DocZero Post author

    Science beats it all. You might go under surgeries and get fake male genitals but you will always be fake, you were born a woman and no matter how much you try you will always have XX chromosomes you'll always have the body structure of a female. Not even trying to be disrespectful I'm just being logical.

  • baka baka Post author

    So what I have to talk to them differently? Jackson Bird you are no special case other than you are a thing. Neither man or woman.

  • Bugler55 Post author

    For a "live and let live" mindset, they sure do like to tell you how to act.

  • QuickSilver Post author

    "Oh noes.. she's delusional""

  • paul sturgess sturg gaming Post author

    This one is clearly mentally challenged

  • Jesse.a Post author

    Wow! A whole 8%?!?!?

  • michael osorio Post author

    don't watch the video, comment section are more interesting.

  • XxkillerslumberXx X Post author

    Umm ?? We aren’t a dog breed ? Talk to us normally like any other person ?

  • harrison wynn Post author

    Jesus Christ I don’t know why I scrolled down.

  • Firstmil Post author

    So, 8% of transsexuals are putting themselves at unnecessary risk because we, the other 99% of the population know which bathrooms to use without a second thought – Yup, trans people are just totally mentally stable people alright.

  • A random wolf with pride Post author

    I think in pan
    Or bi
    I'm sad and confused 😖

  • Finn Harris Post author

    There are so many hate comments… If you are a fellow trans person regretting scrolling through, know that you are valid 💛

  • Dakota Post author

    Take my life and throw me out a window-

  • Badger Fishinski Post author

    We need a video for Transgender people….on how to talk to Heterosexual people.

  • Cortex_v2 Post author

    Treat them like anyone else. With kindness. Just like how you treat mentally ill people.

  • John Smith Post author

    Trans people are not special. They are people like everyone else. I reject your premise that I need to be educated on how to interact with my fellow human beings. Ive been doing so since well before you were born.

  • William Jacobs Post author

    I know what to tell transgender people. " Get a anatomy book , look at yourself in a full length mirror " . Figure it out stupids.

  • Camden DeLude Post author

    Enjoyed that so much

  • iotaultsch Post author

    What these people need is a support group that has experience in their mind-space. That is, psychiatrists, social workers, and the folk who revel with them within their communities. Wanting EVERYONE on board is unrealistic, narcissistic and political. Not interested in being pressured into preferences any more than they are.

  • F12_ LambSh4nk Post author

    the first minute made me cringe so hard i think i shed about 10 layers of skin

  • Tiffany Vigil Post author

    Or just hi, I’m jack. And nothing else because you shouldn’t have to explain yourself to anyone ever?

  • Drew Gerardo Post author

    Seriously how sensitive you have to be to be not called the right thing, ive had someone call me gay all my life! Ive had someone call me the wrong name all my life, but you know what i take from that! A special bond, because only that person does that to me and it makea them stick out!

  • shroomingnewman 3 Post author

    Most transgenders keep it a secret, so people would just treat them like any other normal person

  • m t Post author

    Stop it

  • GDB Riot Post author

    People call Judge Judy sir all the time, I’ve yet to see her retrieve to the safe spot.

  • Kendra Dolezal Post author

    Nice job, well done! Thank you.

  • Glenn Öhman Post author

    My problem with transgender people is that they reinforce the stereotypes they feel opressed by. I mean trans people often are exaggerated versions of the gender they transition into. Also behaving and looking like something is stupid because clothes have no gender and so on.

  • mark haas Post author

    I would be perfectly okay addressing people with an extra pronoun other than "he" or "she" which is already widely used in the English language anyway …"it". But somehow I think that few transgenders or "free spirits" would be willing to embrace it…a single member of the Addams Family, notwithstanding.

  • Thomas white Post author

    Call God up. Tell him he got it wrong..

  • Charlie Ruskin Post author

    This person should die

  • Josh Castro Post author

    this is too complicated, i think i'll just avoid talking to trans people

  • Tyler Miller Post author

    What's your thoughts on age requirement understanding the innocence of adolescents.

  • Captain Smartass Post author

    Respect has to be earned I do NOT HAVE DO Respect a transgender person pronoun if they have not earned my Respect

  • SUPERMAN Garritano Post author

    Yes true, I’m a Trans/intersex and I’m proud of it

  • Melanie Howd Post author

    Most people have no problem with speech. The trans activists however are the ones who have the problem and are obsessed with gender. I don't ever in 55 years remember feeling like (as a woman) I needed to say anything about my gender. That's the same for the vast majority of people. Why is it necessary to mention it?

  • Brent Mitchell Post author

    we live in a generation offended by anything you say. What a dimenishing society we have currently, there are people who have more relevant issues in life such as poverty, warzone obliteration, frantic terroristic ideals brought upon with extreme consequences to those who simply don't believe a certain religion or disagree with government ideals. You have unlimited freedom here in America to do as you please , so why do you feel as if you are being humiliated because someone simply misidentified you?

  • Denny Herrera Post author


  • Matjan Thking95 Post author


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