Perhaps you’ve seen the word trans* tossed around on the internet, and perhaps not. Either way, it’s good to be aware that it’s not a typo, but rather, as this Slate article explains, a more inclusive way of referring to identities that transcend the gender binary. This linguistic convention borrows from computer coding: “the asterisk stems from common computing usage wherein it represents a wildcard—any number of other characters attached to the original prefix.” So rather than having to explain that one is attempting to be inclusive of transsexual, transgender, and genderqueer people, one could simply say trans* to refer to the spectrum of non-cisgendered identities. Good to know, right?
Jeana Jorgensen, PhD recently completed her doctoral degree in folklore and gender studies at Indiana University. She studies fairy tales and other narratives, dance, body art, feminist theory, digital humanities, and gender identity.
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