Supporting the Transgender People in Your Life: A Guide to Being a Good Ally

Learning to be an ally to the transgender people in your life, or to transgender people overall, is an ongoing process. Some ways to be a full ally are relatively simple and easily, while others require more clock, energy, and commitment. Whether you ’ ra looking for information on supporting a transgender person in your life or looking for tools that will help you to change the worldly concern to be better for transgender people overall, this guidebook can help .
One of the most important parts of being an ally to transgender people is learning what it means to be transgender. For information on identity, linguistic process, and other issues facing transgender people you can visit frequently Asked Questions about Transgender People, Understanding Non-Binary People, and our About Transgender People hub, which has links to diverse resources and educational material .

The Basics: Things to Remember about Being an Ally

There is no one way to be a ‘perfect’ ally. The transgender community is divers and complex, coming from every region of the United States and around the populace, from every racial and cultural background, and from every religion residential district. This means that different members of the transgender community have different needs and priorities. similarly, there is no one right way to handle every situation, or interact with every trans person. Be respectful, do your best, and keep trying .
You don’t have to understand someone’s identity to respect it. Some people haven ’ thyroxine heard a lot about transgender identity, or have perturb understanding what it means to be trans, and that ’ s okay. But all people, even those whose identities you don ’ thyroxine amply understand, deserve respect.

You can’t always tell if someone is transgender simply by looking at them. many people expect that they ’ ll “ good know ” when person is trans, and may be surprised to learn that this international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate constantly dependable. Since there is no one transgender experience, there is no matchless way for transgender people to look, either. This besides means that transgender people may be in groups or gatherings that you attend without you knowing it, making it authoritative to be an outspoken ally and garter even in spaces that you think don ’ t have any transgender people in them .
There is no “one right way” to be transgender. Some transgender people choose to medically passage, and some wear ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate. Some transgender people choose to legally change their names or ID documents, and some preceptor ’ t. Some transgender people choose to change their appearance ( like their clothing or hair ), and some wear ’ thymine. Likewise, some transgender people may want to do many of those things but are unable to because they can ’ thymine afford it or for safety reasons. A transgender person ’ s identity does not depend on what things they have or haven ’ thymine done to transition, and no two transgender people ’ second journeys are precisely alike .
Continue to educate yourself. One of the simplest ways to be a strong ally is to take your department of education into your own hands. It ’ sulfur crucial to have conversations with the trans people in your life, but it ’ s besides authoritative for you to seek out resources and information on your own. A few capital places to start :

Interacting with Transgender People

This section includes information on respectfully interacting with transgender individuals one-on-one or when in a minor group .
Use the language a transgender person uses for themselves. No two transgender people are precisely the like, and different transgender people may use different words to describe themselves. You should follow the conduct of each transgender person, as they will best know the terminology that is right for them .
If you don’t know what pronouns to use, ask. A simpleton room to see what pronouns person uses—he, she, they, or something else—is to wait and see if it comes up naturally in conversation. If you ’ re still uncertain, ask politely and respectfully, without making a bad batch about it. Sharing your own pronoun is a bang-up way to bring up the topic—for model, “ Hi, I ’ molarity Rebecca and I use she/her/hers as my pronouns. How about you ? ” If you incidentally use the ill-timed pronouns, apologize and affect on. Making a big cope out of a pronoun mistake may be awkward and often draws unwanted care to the transgender person .
Be careful and considerate about what other questions you ask. There are many topics—medical conversion, life pre-transition, sexual activity—that you may be curious about. That doesn ’ t beggarly it ’ s appropriate to ask a transgender person about them, or expect a transgender person to be comfortable sharing intimate details about themselves. There are two questions you can ask yourself that may help determine if a subject is appropriate to bring up :
“ Do I need to know this information to treat them respectfully ? ” Asking person ’ second name and pronoun is about constantly appropriate, as we use that data in talking to and about each early every day. beyond that, though, you may be curious about questions that are not things you truly need to know. For model, a transgender coworker ’ s surgical history is rarely data that you need to know .
“ Would I be comfortable if this wonder was turned around and asked of me ? ” Another estimable means to determine if a question is appropriate is to think about how it would feel if person asked you something similar. For example, it would probably not feel allow for a coworker to ask you about your private areas of your torso. Likewise, it ’ mho credibly not appropriate to ask exchangeable questions about a transgender coworker ’ sulfur body .
here are some specific topics that many transgender people are uncomfortable discussing with anyone but those closest to them :

  • Their birth name (never call it their “real” name!) or photographs from before they transitioned
  • What hormones they are (or aren’t) taking
  • What surgeries they have (or have not) had
  • Questions related to sexual relationships

Someone’s transgender identity is their private information to share, or not. Just because person has told you that they are transgender does not necessarily mean that they have told everyone in their animation. A transgender person may not choose to tell others that they are transgender because it is dangerous to do so, because they ’ re worried they ’ ll be mistreated or fired, or merely because they don ’ triiodothyronine want to parcel that data with person. It is not improving to you to decide who should or shouldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate know that a particular person is transgender. similarly, transgender people should be the ones to decide how much information is being shared : a transgender person may be loose about being trans, but merely want to discuss checkup issues with certain close friends. Simply because a transgender person has told you something about their experiences doesn ’ t mean they want everyone to know .
Avoid compliments or advice based on stereotypes about transgender people, or about how men and women should look or act. People sometimes intend to be supportive but unintentionally pain transgender people by focusing on their looks or whether they conform to gender stereotypes. hera are some examples of what to avoid, as they much feel like backhanded compliments :

  • “You look like a real woman! I never would have known that you’re trans.”
  • “You would look less trans if you just got a wig/shaved better/wore more makeup/etc.”
  • “No real man would wear clothing like that. You should change if you don’t want people to know you’re transgender.”
  • “I’d date him, even though he’s transgender.”

Being Outspoken

This section includes information on being an blunt ally in larger groups, at work or at school .
Speak out in support of transgender people and transgender rights. politely right others if they use the wrong mention or pronoun for a transgender person. More broadly, it is important to challenge anti-transgender remarks, jokes, and conversations. It can be chilling to speak out, but loudly and visible support for transgender rights can show transgender people that they are accepted, encourage early allies to speak out, and help change the minds of people who aren ’ t supportive of transgender people however .
Support transgender people who experience discrimination. Transgender people may feel that they don ’ metric ton have support from others when making complaints about discrimination or bringing their experiences to authorities, administrators, or others in position of ability. Make it clear that you will support the transgender people in your animation whether or not they decide to make formal complaints.

Think about how you use gendered language. Do you regularly greet groups by saying, “ Ladies and gentlemen ? ” Do you have a coworker who refers to everyone as “ guys ? ” Is there a particular gender-based jest your supporter loves to tell ? many transgender people are finely being called ‘ ladies ’ or ‘ gentlemen, ’ but you can ’ t know without first asking. Consider changing your habits to avoid making assumptions about people ‘s gender or pronouns, and encouraging the people in your life to do the lapp. This can take time and feat, but is an significant room to be an ally and support transgender people outside of individual, face-to-face interactions .
Learn about policies affecting transgender people. Are there any laws that protect transgender people where you live ? any policies at work or school that are inclusive of transgender people ? It ’ mho important to learn more about the challenges that transgender people face and the goals of transgender advocates, and, if you ’ re comfortable with it, even help push to change badly laws and policies or support good ones .

Changing Businesses, Schools, and More

Rethink gender on forms and documents. When creating forms and documents, consider whether you need to include gender at all. many times, we default to asking for sex without considering why or how that data will be used. If you do need to ask for gender information, consider using a blank quad for people to fill in as they feel comfortable, rather than a boxes marked “ male ” and “ female, ” or make it clean that people can fill in forms in a way that matches their sex identity .
Ensure everyone has access to bathrooms and other facilities. Everyone should be able to safely and comfortably use bathrooms and other gendered facilities. push to allow people to use the toilet that matches their gender identity rather than what ’ s on their ID. In addition, providing gender-neutral or private bathrooms is a big way to provide safe and comfortable outer space for everyone ( but never require anyone to use them if they don ’ t want ! ). And if a public toilet is designed for good one user at a time, make sure that it ’ sulfur gender-neutral—there ’ randomness no reason to make it a men ’ south or women ’ s public toilet. Take down that “ Women ” or “ Men ” sign and put up raw signs that say “ Restroom. ”
Push for support and inclusivity, not simply tolerance. A baseline of tolerance—allowing transgender people to exist—is an important depart, but we can do more. If your school brings outside speakers or hosts events, make certain that some of them include transgender people and topics. If your business donates to nonprofits, look into partnering with organizations that support the transgender community. If your arrangement posts community events on social media, include some from the transgender community .
Craft a transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination policy. Shifting the acculturation of an organization takes time. Crafting a transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination policy can help clarify how your administration supports transgender people, and ensure that there ’ s a way to respond to those who aren ’ thyroxine supportive .

Changing the World

Call your elected officials. Call your elect local, country, and federal officials to thank them when they do support transgender rights and to provide important criticism when they don ’ triiodothyronine. Visit Make Your Voice Heard for more information .
Work to pass laws in your city or submit, and on the federal grade, that criminal discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and education based on sex identity/expression. This could be adenine simple as calling your elected officials, or adenine involved as a letter-writing campaign or collection signatures for a ballot measuring stick .
Change the curriculum of medical, health, crisis response and social work programs, or bring in trainers, to teach these providers about transgender people and how to treat transgender people with respect and professionalism. Include information about the rejection, discrimination and violence that transgender people face and how to provide services and patronize to transgender clients .
Work with schools to make them safe for transgender students by implementing all the recommendations in our Model School District Policy on Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students .
Work with homeless shelters to make them safe for transgender people by implementing all the recommendations in Transitioning Our Shelters : A Guide to Making Homeless Shelters Safe for Transgender People .
Work with suicide prevention, HIV prevention and treatment, alcohol and drug abuse treatment, and anti-smoking programs to ensure that their cultivate is trans-inclusive and their staff is knowing about transgender issues. Find trainers and teach them how to deal sensitively with trans people seeking aid .
Work with police departments to have bazaar written policies with regard to interacting with transgender members of the public, regardless if they are seeking aid or being arrested, and make certain all police officers are trained on following the policy and treating transgender people with regard .
Work with jail and prison systems to ensure the respectful and safe discussion of transgender prisoners, starting with implementing the recommendations of Standing with LGBT Prisoners.

Take a step back. Transgender people come from every population, and are of all races, religions, ages, and more. There are transgender immigrants, employees, prisoners, sexual activity workers, and every early class conceivable. Make an effort to be american samoa inclusive as possible of all kinds of transgender people when working to support transgender communities .

Putting it All into Action

hopefully by this point you feel armed with the tools and cognition needed to be an ally to the transgender people in your life, vitamin a well as the larger transgender community. Remember : no one is able to be the perfective ally at all times, so it ’ south important to provide as much support as you can and to learn from the mistakes you may make along the way .
Thanks for being a strong ally !

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