It is extremely important to refer to a transgender person by the pronoun appropriate to their presented gender. In other words, if someone identifies as female, then refer to them as she; if they identify as male, refer to them as he. If you are not sure, ASK them what they want. Once you know, be as consistent as possible. It’s okay if you forget or slip up once in a while. Nevertheless, it is very important to make the effort. Never use the word “it” when referring to someone who is transgendered, either in their presence or to others when they are not present. To do so is incredibly insulting and disrespectful.
When someone’s transgender status comes to your attention, do not assume that it is a fad or trend – something that will be discarded when it is no longer fashionable. While public discussion about transgenderism and transsexuality is a relatively recent phenomenon, most TG people, particularly transsexuals have dealt with their gender issues for many years – many times at great personal and professional cost. It is important to trust that their decision to present themselves in a gender different from their birth gender is not one made lightly or without due consideration.
Do NOT “out” someone (tell others that they are TG) without his or her permission. Also, do not assume that everyone knows. Some TG people “pass” very well and the only way someone would know would be if they were told. The decision to tell someone about their gender issues should be left to the TG person themselves.
Never ask a TG person how he or she has sex or what their genitals look like. That is inappropriate in every situation.
Do NOT assume a TG person is straight. Do not assume they are gay, lesbian or bisexual, either.