In languages like Spanish when referring to masculine you use “o” at and of words and when referring to feminine you end words in “a”. Its a basic construct of the language. If you have a gender indeterminate individual, how do you refer to them? French has the same basic issue.
For one thing, a transsexual is not a “gender indeterminate individual”.
English is gendered when referring to people as well, just in different places. The Spanish posessive is su for both genders; English has to choose between his and hers. How does English solve it? By using the pronouns that person prefers.
That’s exactly how Spanish, French, and so forth do it. We use the pronouns the person prefers, just as we do for cisgendered folks.
And now that the question is out of the way, the “Spanish rule” given is an oversimplification. That “rule” applies only to some words (adjectives and nouns) which happen to have two gendered forms and for which the gendered forms happen to end in -a for female and -o for male. There are many words which do not have two gendered forms; there are also many words which end in -a or -o but that ending is not indicative of gender. There are cases where two words are very similar and end in -a and -o but are not forms of the same word, they have completely different meanings (consuela: verb; consuelo: noun).
You call trans women “her” and trans men “him”, no matter the language. Also, “transsexual” is not the preferred term. It’s outdated at best. It’s like calling black people “colored”.
My own defective language (English) doesn’t even have pronouns that can be used for persons of unknown or irrelevant gender. Actually, it does have a term (“he”) but the feminists screeched so loudly, it has been abolished.
In French, at least, the grammatical gender has nothing to do with the gender of the noun. “Le professeur est enceinte,” for example.
You would probably follow the same rule for pronouns that you do in English: use the one the subject prefers.
And French has the all-purpose pronoun “on” which is gender neutral.
According to Google Translate, the article for transsexual is “die”, which is feminine. Which is not particularly indicative, since the article doesn’t necessarily correspond to the real-life gender of the referent. Madchen, for instance, is “das”, even though Madchen is “young woman”. This is because nouns sometimes get their gender from their construction, in this case the “-chen”.
Language constructions aren’t logical; they just are.
…and due to the rapidly (astonishingly) growing divide between gender-binary transgender persons and gender non-binary/non-conforming transgender persons, transsexual is making a comeback in (limited) uses. I’m waiting to see where it goes.
Una, transsexual woman.
Yes, this implies the generally accepted principle that young girls should not have sex.
Obligatory Mark Twain essay on this phenomenon.
An oldie but a goodie.
I especially like a tidbit in the intro to that article
I was a bit surprised (and secretly pleased) to see vBulletin auto-parsed the gopher link.