‘Being trans is awkward,’ Jackson Bird says at the start of his recent Ted Talk.
It’s Trans Awareness Week. In honor of that, Bird, a video creator and activist, gave a short speech providing some always needed info on being transgender.
The crux of Bird’s talk is about just that: talking, listening, and communicating.
‘Part of what was so nerve-racking about coming out as transgender was knowing that people wouldn’t know what I meant,’ he explains.
‘People who support me and all other trans people wholeheartedly are often so scared to say to wrong thing,’ he goes on. ‘So embarrassed to not know what they think they should, that they never ask.’
Bird reveals he wrote a 10-page document to send to everyone he came out to. It was complete with music and videos.
What you need to know
He then dives straight into addressing misconceptions and topics a lot of people don’t know about being trans. Like surgery. He mentions some of the ‘dozens of different gender-affirming surgeries’ but that it starts with 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.’
Bird is affable and funny during the whole talk. Take when he discusses pronouns and names, for example.
‘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.’
Continuing on, he discusses bathrooms (‘trans people are so much more scared of you than you are of us’) and his own privilege and how much harder it is for trans women and trans people of color.
At the end, he voices his one hope: ‘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.”‘