What Does Transplaining Mean?

Discover what transplaining means, why it is problematic, and how it impacts transgender individuals. Learn about examples, case studies, and statistics on transplaining.


Transplaining is a term that has emerged in recent years to describe the phenomenon of trans individuals being condescendingly told about their own experiences by cisgender people. This article will delve into what transplaining means, why it is problematic, and provide examples and statistics to illustrate this issue.

What is Transplaining?

Transplaining is a portmanteau of ‘trans’ and ‘explaining,’ coined to highlight the tendency of cisgender individuals to explain or define trans experiences and identities in a patronizing or presumptuous manner. This behavior often arises from a lack of understanding, empathy, or respect towards the lived experiences of transgender individuals.

Why is Transplaining Problematic?

Transplaining is harmful because it can invalidate the perspectives and stories of transgender individuals, reinforce harmful stereotypes, and perpetuate ignorance and discrimination. When cisgender people attempt to explain or dictate what it means to be transgender, they undermine the autonomy and agency of trans individuals to define their own identities.

Examples of Transplaining

  • A cisgender person telling a transgender individual that their gender identity is not valid or real.
  • Offering unsolicited advice on transitioning or medical procedures to a transgender person.
  • Assuming that all transgender people have the same experiences or feelings.

Case Studies

In a study conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, it was found that 27% of transgender individuals reported being denied equal treatment or harassed by a healthcare provider. This highlights the negative impact of transplaining, where trans patients may face discrimination or misinformation from medical professionals.

Statistics on Transphobia

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 40% of transgender adults have reported attempting suicide in their lifetime, compared to 4.6% of the general population. This stark disparity underscores the pervasive discrimination and stigma faced by transgender individuals, which can be exacerbated by transplaining.


Transplaining is a harmful behavior that undermines the voices and experiences of transgender individuals. It is essential for cisgender people to listen, learn, and respect the autonomy of trans individuals in defining their own identities. By challenging transphobia and promoting understanding and empathy, we can create a more inclusive and supportive society for all.

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