Being an Ally to Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Folks

Becoming an Ally to Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People

  • Challenge your own conceptions about gender-appropriate roles and behavior
  • Respect the confidentiality of anyone who comes out to you as transsexual, transgender, genderqueer or gender questioning.
  • Never try to tell a person what “category” they fit into.
  • Do your best to be respectful and call the person by the name and pronouns they use.
  • Ask “What pronouns do you use?” or “What are your pronouns?” instead of “preferred gender pronouns/PGPs” as pronouns are not “preferred”, they just are.
  • Names, pronouns, and expression may change depending on the day/circumstances.  Check in with folks, and use the name and pronouns that they use for that day.
  • Proactively gender trans people to establish pronouns, particularly in introductions
  • Intervene in misgendering
  • Advocate for more inclusive, non-gender-segregated spaces
  • Educate yourself and pass on this knowledge to others
  • Challenge gender assumptions in the classroom and around campus
  • Listen if a transperson chooses to talk to you about their gender identity.  Be honest about things you don’t understand—don’t try to fake it!
  • Don’t assume all transpeople want hormones and/or surgery, or to transition at all.
  • Don’t assume you know what someone’s sexual orientation/identity is or is going to be.
  • Be trans-inclusive in your programming & language.
  • Don’t assume the public “Gay Agenda” matches the needs or political priorities of trans folks.  Educate yourself and learn from trans people (Google is your friend here!) about what they need.
  • Be patient with a person who is questioning their gender identity.
  • Attend QRC events!
  • Attend a QRC Ally training to receive an Ally placard to hang in your room or office.

Things Cisgender People Take for Granted

  • Strangers do not ask me what my “real name” (birth name) is and then assume they have a right to call me by that name.
  • People do not disrespect me by using incorrect pronouns even after they’ve been corrected.
  • I do not have to worry about whether I will be able to find a bathroom to use or whether I will be safe changing in a locker room.
  • Strangers don’t assume they can ask me what my genitals look like and how I have sex.
  • If I end up in the emergency room, I do not have to worry that my gender will keep me from receiving appropriate treatment, nor will all of my medical issues be seen as a product of my gender.
Adapted from: California State University Safe Zone Ally Handbook.