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Androgenous Compliments and Affirmation


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Hi there! 


My partner is struggling with their gender identity. They've talked to me a lot about wishing they didn't need pronouns at all or that it was possible to take gender out of their identity. 


I'm looking for advice on how to compliment their physical appearance without gendered language.


I Ian tell it stings when people say they're "beautiful" or "pretty." But they also struggle with body dismorphia and it seems especially important for them to be reminded that they're attractive. 


There are of course gender neutral synonyms like "gorgeous," and obviously saying someone's "sexy" applies regardless of gender. But, to those of you who identify as gender non-conforming, are there compliments that have made you feel particularly seen? Any ideas for affirmation? 

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  • Forum Moderator

Welcome thoughtfully,

I remember thinking the word handsome seems to worker all genders.  But if they were considered male at birth they may feel it to male.





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Oh this is a tough one because most compliments are mostly gender focused.  I have heard many used for both but some just never sounded right to me so I get what you are saying.  Like calling a women handsome just did not sound right to me.  


Sometimes the non verbal is the way to go.  The eyes can say a thousand things and a slight approving hum in a sexy or positive way can definitely get a point across.

Obviously physical reactions and human contact is another but that's situational and not always appropriate.  But a hug is a hug and OMG I wish I had these more often.

As for complimenting they or them verbally with words it is a hard thing but keeping it to the basic forms of the word is best and most likely consider neutral.

Like don't compliment a blouses or cute top as such, compliment a shirt that looks nice.

Bad example but you get what I am saying.  

Good Luck!



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More neutral compliments can be things like:

That's a nice color on you.

You look happy/bubbly/cheerful/whatever today.

It's hard to do, but there are ways to find neutral positive things.


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I've called people of various genders "cute". I, and I'm sure others, consider it gender neutral. But I've asked transmasc and nb folks if they were ok with my saying so, and assured them I didn't mean it in a girly way. Some might consider it a feminine compliment... 



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  • Forum Moderator

I might suggest saying they are "looking good" or "have a confident look about them."   Look for words that are generalist in nature.  

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  • 3 months later...
  • 9 months later...
On 4/5/2020 at 8:06 AM, ToniTone said:

I've called people of various genders "cute". I, and I'm sure others, consider it gender neutral. But I've asked transmasc and nb folks if they were ok with my saying so, and assured them I didn't mean it in a girly way. Some might consider it a feminine compliment.

Yeah, I think I've actually heard adult men getting called cute more often than adult women. But my entire life I've absolutely hated being called cute (I'm afab) before I even considered that I might not be 100% cishet, and I know of some other people that hate it as well. So they might just hate it un-gender related. I do very much agree though, I think of "cute" as gender neutral.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My favorite compliments are "You look more like yourself" or "You look confident and sexy" MMMM yes please thank you! I *hate* to be called "cute" but find "looking good" or "you look amazing" annoyingly vague. Get specific? "Your hair looks great today." or "Nice butt" or something like that could help avoid gendered vagaries.

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  • 3 months later...

We get so hung up because language when it comes to gender is imprecise IMO. 


I've broken it down like this. 


Most people are either XY or XX be they gay, straight or bi and then there are folks who are intergendered physically and some of us have intergendered brains. 


I like to refer to M2F as XY females and F2M as XX males. That to me seems more precise than other words used to label of describe folks. The thought behind those words means more than the word themselves. Me? I switch from regular guy to sissy with no warning and no known trigger. When I go to "dude" I'm comfortable in my skin and when I switch to sissy i'm less comfortable in my skin.


What happens with a M2F in a marriage? A rhetorical question. If the wife is cool with it is she a lesbian? Is the M2F partner a lesbian? 


If a gay male transitions M2F is that person a straight female? 


Why not leave sexual orientation out of the equations? 


Practically speaking, I would like there to be more heterosexual females be they XY or XX than males. A 40/60 ratio would be nice. I think society would be more civilized with a slightly higher ratio of females vs males. 


Growing up I didn't know about trans females and I never entertained the idea of dating one but knowing what I know now, and if I were single, would not think twice about it. Op or non op would be fine with me. What matters if the person inside. 

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I began using the word "hun" early in my transition and still use it today for both men and women. 

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