Skip to content

“Transgender” doesn’t exist in Spanish, so we’ll make it up

Cyril Mazur
This post was last updated on .

Now that’s a point of grammar that will either get trans organisations to issue a fatwa (against me, as usual) or maybe make them agree with me (for once). I’m personally fond of studying languages and how they evolve through time (latin languages being my favourites).

I believe languages are not set in stone and evolve through time, and that words are tied to the culture of those who use them (and that the same word can be understood and felt differently from a place or another, as for the example of “ladyboy” which would get any transsexual upset in the USA, but is perfectly owned and employed by Thais). And that’s making our world beautiful 🙂

Dating Ladyboys in Spanish

So last month we translated our site into Spanish! We are actually starting to translate our site into as many languages as possible, since we have vocation of being the number one international dating site for the transgender community. And I am being very perfectionist, I want our translations to be of the best quality possible (I told you I’m a language lover).

The man who did the Spanish version is a well educated man (American living in Mexico) who’s as close to the trans community as I am. Though we encountered a problem: “transgender” doesn’t seem to officially exist in Spanish. As gender translates with “gĂ©nero” in Spanish (noun, m), “transgender” would translate with “transgĂ©nero” (adj, m). But various dictionaries will return various results (or not return anything):

My Ladyboy Date Spanish Version Changes

Result: only WordMagic and Collins give a definition of “transgĂ©nero“. According to Collins, it’s invariable (no difference between plural/singular, masculine/feminine). According to WordMagic, it is variable. I’m scratching my head.

Even Glaad.org (which is supposed to be a reference in terms of LGBT grammar, “oh how dare you employ transgender like a noun, it’s an adjective!“) features a mix of “mujer transgĂ©nero” and “mujer transgĂ©nera“.

Why proper translation matters

It is not a problem in English, because adjectives are always invariable (you don’t change the spelling of an adjective depending on the gender and number of what it qualifies) but in Spanish it does (and in French also, by the way). For example, you say “un melĂłn delicisio” (singular masculine for “a tasty melon“) but “unas manzanas deliciosas” (plural feminine for “tasty apples“). It seems the rule is that adjectives that derivate from nouns shall be invariable, like for colours  (“rosa“, rose pink or “naranja“, orange), or like “macho“.

In this case, considering that “transgĂ©nero” is an invariable adjective literally equals considering it’s also a noun. An idea that would make angry our transgender friends who are adepts to political correctness.

English is the leading language in most domains (medicine, technology, sociology…). That includes these new terminologies related to the trans community (don’t expect to find these terms in Thai or Filipino!). It used to be French a century, now it’s English. Anyways, most of the time, these terms are latin based. Spanish is latin based, but it seems we lack of Spanish speaking advocates promoting them properly.

Conclusion

Based on the fact that “transgender” shall be an adjective (and never a noun!) in English, it seems odd to not apply the same principle in Spanish. Thus it should be incorrect to use “transgĂ©nero” as a noun. And thus, it should be incorrect to consider it’s an invariable adjective. That’s the reason why we are employing “transgĂ©nero” as an adjective with the following definition:

Singular: transgénero
Plural: transgéneros
Feminine: transgénera
Plural and Feminine: transgéneras

Moreover, it has the following advantage: it gives you an extra information about how somebody identifies. For example “Soy transgĂ©nero” (“I am transgender“, masculine form) you understand the person identifies as a man, whereas “Soy transgĂ©nera” (“I am transgender” feminine form) you understand the persona identifies as a woman.

I don’t think this is going against common sense and correct grammar, and I don’t think this is offending anybody (if so, I apologise of course). Words are not just made by academicians, but also by the people who commonly employ them. Therefore, since it seems to be an open field, let’s just start using “transgĂ©nero” as a standard adjective with masculine/feminine form, and not as noun. And if it spreads and gets employed by the majority, then it will make its way to the dictionary.

I would be happy to hear your comments about it of course, especially Spanish speaking people. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Transgender news

About the author

Cyril Mazur
French Internet entrepreneur. Founder and CEO of My Ladyboy Date / My Transgender Date. I made it my life mission to help trans women and trans attracted men connect and find love.
đŸ‡«đŸ‡·â€ïžđŸłïžâ€đŸŒˆ

Related posts

Comments

One thought on ““Transgender” doesn’t exist in Spanish, so we’ll make it up

  1. Definitely an interesting post, Simon! I’m a lover of languages as well, but haven’t had the pleasure of studying much of the Spanish language. With my limited knowledge, it sounds like your approach is well thought out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *