Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: transgender; transgendered.

transgender; transgendered. The precise meaning of this new term (dating only to the mid-1970s) is hard to pin down, but it’s most commonly used as a broad adjective describing people whose self-identity does not match the sex they were labeled with at birth — e.g.: “[Dr. Norman] Spack subjects his patients to a lengthy evaluation process before recommending hormone therapy. Kids undergo a battery of interview-based psychological tests to see if they meet the medically established criteria for gender-identity disorder. . . . There are many mysteries about the transgendered. This could clear up one of them.” Laura Fitzpatrick, “The Gender Conundrum,” Time, 19 Nov. 2007, at 59. The term is not necessarily an identification of sexual orientation. “Transgender” is the broader and more common term. The participle “transgendered” might suggest some form of physical alteration — e.g.: “Rhiannon O’Donnabhain is suing the IRS in a case advocates for the transgendered are hoping will force the tax agency to treat sex-change operations the same as appendectomies, heart bypasses and other deductible medical procedures.” “Around the Nation,” Record (N.J.), 17 July 2007, at A6. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “We ought to be more on our guard against the excess of refinement than that of simplicity.” David Hume, Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary (1742), in Classics in Composition 80, 82-83 (Donald E. Hayden ed., 1969).

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