How To Be A Trans Ally
Updated: Aug 14, 2019
Today's guest post is very special! Luca and I have been friends since we were 12 years old and he is someone very near and dear to my heart! He recently started his Instagram account and I have loved following him and hearing his perspectives and stories as a trans man. I reached out to him to see if he would be willing to share a few tips on how cis people can be a better ally to trans people. (Cis: people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.)
I know some of you may be new to these ideas/terms, so I'll provide definitions in italics throughout. Without further ado, let's get into it!
How can I be a better ally to the transgender/gender non-conforming community? (Transgender: Someone who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Gender non-conforming: Someone who does not identify as male or female.)
The fact that you're even wondering that is an amazing first step! Thank you from myself and our community! We appreciate your willingness to fight and support us in way that benefits the community and makes US feel comfortable!
1. The easiest way to let someone know that you are an ally is by introducing yourself with your name and pronouns. This may feel awkward at first, but this small gesture lets us know that we are in a safe place and there is no need to worry about our physical or mental safety. (Ex: My name is Emily and my pronouns are she/hers/her.)
2. If someone comes out to you as transgender/gender non-conforming, use their new pronouns immediately! This is very affirming to newly out folx and it helps us when you lead by example so that others will follow. (Folx: A gender neutral version of "folks".)
3. Ask if we are comfortable with you correcting other people when they misgender us! If the answer is yes, gently correct others privately or in the moment if your loved one is comfortable with that. This helps us so that we do not need to go through the stress of coming out and explaining ourselves to every single person. (Misgender: Calling someone a gender they do not identify as anymore. Ex: Using "she" instead of "he".)
How do I correct someone who misgenders my loved one?
For example if someone is referring to a masc individual, "She really likes cake."
Your response: "It's actually he!" *continue conversation
If the individual continues to misgender a loved one, gently say the correct pronoun after they use the incorrect pronoun. If it continues to persist at that point, then a more serious conversation needs to be had otherwise it will be very uncomfortable and unsafe for us to interact with that individual.
Please remember that every person is different so these tips may not be relevant for some folx in this community! The easiest way to find out what else you can do to help is to simply ask! Support means the world to us!
Thanks to Luca for being here and for this guest post!
And if you want to schedule a therapy session with me, click here for more information.