5 Tips To Become a Better Ally to Transgender People
We're here to raise awareness for the Transgender community.
In honor of Transgender Awareness Week 2020, we wanted to put together a list of tips that will help you move forward and become a better ally to transgender people. By doing this you’re helping change the culture, making society a better and safer place for transgender people and those who do not conform to conventional gender labels.
1. Learn what pronouns they use or prefer
Instead of outright asking them what pronouns they use, you have two options. 1, you could introduce yourself and openly say which pronouns you use and then you can ask “what about you?,” this way you’re encouraging them to let you know how they would like to be address. 2, if you’re in a group, listen to the pronouns others use when referring to them, this is especially useful if you’re in a new group of friends or even at work.
2. Understand that they don’t have to tell you about their gender history or identity
A transgender person has no obligation to tell you about their journey or answer your questions about their gender identity. If they feel comfortable and want to talk about it, they will bring it up in conversation. Be respectful and don’t force them to answer questions you have, even if they are with the kindest intentions.
3. Avoid backhanded compliments
Examples of these can be: “You really look just like a real man,” “I would have never known you were transgender,” or “you would look even more like a woman if you had a better wig, etc.” While you may think you’re being kind or supportive, comments like these can be insulting or even hurtful to a transgender person.
4. Don’t ask about a transgender person’s genitals or sex life
This is very similar to number 2, but just because you may be intrigued, it really isn’t your place to ask unless they openly talk to you about this topic. Asking questions about a transgender person’s genitals or sex life will most likely be seen as overstepping the boundary, especially if you’ve just met.
5. Understand that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to transition
Each transgender person will have a different journey and transition, so if you’ve heard one person’s story, don’t expect others to be exactly the same or similar.
To read more about Transgender Awareness Week, visit glad.org/transweek.