This talk provides a dual perspective on the relationship between language and transgender identities. It begins with a broad view of the place of trans speakers in the study of language, gender, and sexuality. This discussion traces development across three decades of research in communities that have been variably described as transsexual, transgender, third gender, and non-binary, highlighting insights at the levels of phonetics, grammar, and discourse. At the same time, this talk also calls attention to the linguistic activism of transgender communities, in which linguists have to date played little role. Rather than focusing exclusively on what trans speakers have to offer the study of language, gender, and sexuality, I also highlight the debt that is owed to trans communities and a variety of ways in which linguists might work to repay it.