So you want to know about trans sex?

Written by J Tebble, Project Assistant for All About Trans

“Trans people are asked offensive questions about their private lives that would never be asked of others,” writes Freddie McConnell. “It’s time to stop the talk of ‘real’ names and body parts”.

As part of the g2’s Generation Y Takeover, All About Trans hooked up with the Guardian and some of our young trans volunteers to talk everything about trans people and sex. But this was different from a run-of-the-mill tabloid exposé: these were trans people taking ownership of what they wanted to talk about, sharing the ups, downs and real stories about their sexual and romantic experiences, with the aim of telling cis people (people who aren’t trans) why their questions about sex are often unnecessary and (albeit ignorantly) offensive.

All About Trans is a project run by On Road, a charity that works in partnership with marginalised groups of people – including the transgender, homeless and traveller communities – to solve social issues using media like radio, newspaper and television. During the second phase of the All About Trans project, we’ve been focussing on connecting media professionals with the transgender community across the UK, using the web, digital storytelling and face-to-face meetups. As part of this, we got in contact with Guardian and Independent journalist Freddie McConnell, who, on top of having a degree in Arabic and hostile environments experience in the Middle East, has written about his own transition.

Our volunteers were selected for their wide range of identities and backgrounds: All About Trans project assistant J took part, as well as CJ, Leng and Frankie, with Freddie facilitating the discussion. Some were previous interaction volunteers for All About Trans: last year, CJ met with Ellen Branagh from the Press Association; Leng met with Steve Herrmann from BBC News Online; and I met with Ben Stephenson, BBC Drama Controller. You can read more about our interactions on our blog.

In the two hours that we recorded for, the topics ranged from dealing with dating and rejection in the LGB scene, to sex toys and explaining awkward things to parents. It was a space where we could vent about the microaggressions we face as trans people – the stream of intrusive questions like “how do you wee?” and “do you have a penis?” and “why do you want to become a man if you want to have sex with men?”– the stuff that pops out of people’s mouths without seemingly a second thought when they know you’re trans, but things that they wouldn’t dare to ask otherwise.

Freddie sums up his drive create the podcast as wanting to “answer some of the common regrettable questions cis people ask trans people” and  “stop the flow of inappropriate questions in one-to-one situations”. So if you’ve been the unwitting interrogator of a trans friend or acquaintance, or just have curiosities that won’t be satisfied, you can listen to the podcast at the link below:

soundcloud.com/freddie-mcconnell/guardian-trans-podcast

Read the full article here.

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2 comments Submit a comment
  • I was pleased to see this article in a mainstream publication but did find it frustrating that it used terms like ‘cis gendered’ with the assumption that everyone knows what that means. It just adds to the mystery some people feel when meeting trans people.

  • Alana Avery commented on April 17, 2014 at 13:03

    Thanks for your comment. ‘Cisgender’ simply means that a person is not trans, or a wider description could be someone who feels comfortable with the sex (and/or assumed gender identity) they were assigned at birth. You can read more if you like on the Wikipedia page here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisgender.

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