Definitions

Transgender

Someone whose gender identity (their internal sense of being a man, woman, or something outside that binary) differs from the gender they were assumed to be at birth.

Gender Non-Conforming (GNC)

Someone whose behavior or appearance does not conform to prevailing cultural and social expectations about what is appropriate to their gender.

Nonbinary

A gender identity other than male or female. Some nonbinary people use “they” or another gender-neutral pronoun rather than “he” or “she.” Recently enacted laws in California allow people to select “X” rather than “M” or “F” as the gender marker on their formal identification.

 

Respectful Interaction At Polling Locations

  • At the poll, if you are greeting a transgender/GNC person, you may recognize that the name on the voting roll does not “match” their presentation. If all other legal requirements are met, transgender/GNC people are entitled to their right to vote.
  • Do not assume a person is male or female. This includes addressing strangers as “ma’am” or “sir”.
  • Never use words such as “it” or “whatever” when referring to someone who is transgender/GNC.
  • When you are not sure of a person’s gender identity, or the name shown on their formal documentation does not appear to “match” the person’s gender presentation, it is OK to ask. “What are your pronouns?” “What name would you like me to use?”
  • When you are not sure what pronoun to use, stick to the person’s first name.
  • Never ask a transgender/GNC person what their “real name” is.
  • If you make a pronoun mistake, acknowledge the mistake, apologize, and move forward quickly. Being honest about your mistake shows respect, but making a scene can make transgender/GNC people feel uncomfortable and unsafe. 
  • Being transgender isn’t dependent on any particular medical procedure. It isn’t ever appropriate to inquire about surgeries or any other intimate details.
  • When you learn about an individual’s transgender/GNC identity, keep it private. It is privileged information. You should never “out” people by revealing their identity to others.
  • Validate how transgender and gender non-conforming people present themselves by treating them respectfully, just as you would everyone else.

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