Be a Trans Ally

How To Be a Trans Ally
The trans community makes up the “T” in LGBT. Do you know how to be a friend or ally to a trans person? This article will help you understand what it means to be an ally to a trans person or the trans community.
Time Required: N/A

Here’s How:

Don’t assume

You might not know if a transgender person is in your presence. If speaking to a group, try to be inclusive.

Don’t tolerate anti-trans remarks or jokes.
If someone makes a transphobic joke or remark, call them out on it. Challenge transphobic thinking.

Use the preferred pronoun.
If a person says she identifies as female, use “she” and “her” regardless of what that person’s body or appearance is. If you are not sure which pronoun to use ask the person, “What pronoun would you like me to use?”

Respect Confidentiality.
If a person comes out to you as transgender, transsexual or questioning, ask that person who else knows and who you can talk to about it.

Every trans person’s experience is unique. If someone is having a hard time coming out or experiencing discrimination, you can help a lot by just listening.

Know your limits.
Admit when you’ve reached the limit of your knowledge. Ask for guidance or find an appropriate resource.

Don’t try to Label someone.
If someone tells you they feel like they are “trapped in the wrong body” don’t tell them they are necessarily a transsexual. People who are struggling with their gender identity often need the space to figure out for themselves how to identify.

Don’t assume You Know What Their sexual Orientation is.
Sexual orientation and gender identity are not directly connected. Someone who is transitioning may also be questioning their sexual orientation or may choose to identify in a different way then they have previously.

Look at yourself.
Examine your own ideas of gender stereotypes and challenge those around you to do the same.

Stay Open
Remember transgender people are individuals who deserve respect and understanding.

Become an Activist
Offer to volunteer with a trans group in your community. Lobby for trans rights. Be sure trans issues are included when lesbian and gay rights are being talked about.

Suggested Reading:

Can Transsexuals be lesbians?
What is a Trannydyke?
More about Being Trans
Gender Identity Disorder
Here’s a great blog with more on being a trans ally

When Your Partner is Transgender
About Chaz Bono
What is Cisgendered?
Related Articles
Transgender Terminology – Defining Common Transgender Terminology
Transgender Pronouns – Do You Call A Transgender Person He or She?
Personal Pronouns
First Kiss in the Storage Room – Reader Stories: My First Kiss
Armand Van Helden Interview

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