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
Adapted from: California State University Safe Zone Ally Handbook.
- 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.