10 ways to be a trans ally in your day to day life
2 June 2021, 11:13
You can't be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community without being an ally to trans people.
It's officially Pride Month and people all around the world are celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. However, more often than not, people fail to celebrate every part of the LGBTQ+ community. Trans people and queer people of colour are rarely given the same platform as cis, white, gay men, and continue to be disproportionately impacted by discrimination, violence, and inequality.
That's why it's important to be an ally to all LGBTQ+ people this month and beyond. As GLAAD said in a statement for Pride: "Full LGBTQ acceptance cannot be achieved until we protect the most vulnerable among us".
With that in mind, we've put together a list of 10 simple ways that you can be an ally to trans people in your everyday life. The list is by no means exhaustive and there are many other ways to help trans people but this list will hopefully help if you're looking for inspiration and advice on your allyship.
1) Listen to trans people and don't conflate all of their experiences.
It goes without saying but, if you're an ally to trans people, you need to listen to them and help amplify their voices instead of speaking over them or for them. Just like cis people, all trans people are different.
For example, surgery is important to some trans people but it's not important to others, trans people of colour statistically experience more discrimination and violence than white trans people and non-binary people often have completely different relationships to gender than other trans people. The more you listen, the more informed you will be as an ally.
2) Educate yourself and get informed.
Whether you know an out trans person personally or not, you can get educated and informed. There is a plethora of useful information and first-person accounts both on and off the internet. It's not a trans person's job to educate you about trans people and issues, so do your own research. Google is free. Just be sure to watch out for misinformation.
3) Support trans art, literature, television and work at large.
Watching one season of Pose doesn't make you a trans expert but culture is a brilliant entryway to learn more about trans people. It's also a great way of supporting them. Hollywood is finally casting trans actors in trans roles and authors like Janet Mock and Torrey Peters are writing must-read books that are touching, hilarious and informative.
4) Speak up if you hear someone make transphobic remarks.
This may sound simple but there are moments in life when you may hear someone say something transphobic and ignore it to avoid confrontation. This fails trans people because it allows transphobic views to prosper unchallenged, even if that person didn't mean to be transphobic. The more you speak out, the easier it will get.
5) Correct someone if they dead-name a trans person.
On that note, you may hear people dead-name trans people and use the wrong pronouns for them. Even if you know that they're doing it by mistake, it's important to correct them so that they're aware of it and work to stop doing it.
My next guest on #TheOprahConversation is @TheElliotPage. I hope this serves as an invitation for people to understand, appreciate, & know that every human born on this planet wants the same thing. We want to be accepted, loved, & live in health & safety as our authentic self. pic.twitter.com/QJl4UsSceE— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) April 30, 2021
6) Apologise if you make a mistake.
We're all human and it's not uncommon to make mistakes with people's names and pronouns, particularly if you knew them before they came out as trans. If you do though, apologise, don't make a big deal out of it, and make sure to remember the right terms for them in future.
7) Question if the spaces you work in are trans-inclusive.
Many schools and workplaces were designed without trans people in mind so it's important that we do our best to update them. Are there no unisex bathrooms at your school? Do you have gendered work events? Is there anything you come into contact with daily that you think could make trans people uncomfortable? If so, speak out, contact someone senior to you about it and work to help change it.
8) Never make assumptions about someone's gender.
Just because someone appears male or female to you, doesn't mean that they are. If you don't know someone's pronouns you can always use a gender-neutral term like 'they' to describe them. Listen to what other people who know them refer to them as too and, if you need to ask, introduce yourself by stating your pronouns too.
9) Be careful not to out trans people to other people.
If a trans person discloses their identity to you, it's possible that they aren't out as trans to everyone else. Make sure you know how comfortable they are with other people knowing that they are trans before mentioning their identity to other people. From work to home life, there are many reasons why trans people may not wish to be out publicly and it's important to respect them.
10) Volunteer, donate and help raise awareness.
In the UK and US, there are many trans charities you can support via volunteering or donation: Mermaids, The Audre Lorde Project and Gendered Intelligence are just a few of them. Trans people often set up GoFundMe pages for surgeries too, so always be on the lookout for ways you can help.
For further information and resources visit GLAAD's tips for allies of transgender people.