How To Be A Trans Ally

01 Aug 2017

Here at Ditch the Label, we were over the moon that last Sunday saw more than 2,500 people turned out to celebrate the UK’s biggest Trans Pride Event ever!! It was powerful, emotional and uplifting. We love our home town and with Pride season in full swing right now all over the world, it’s a special time of the year for LGBT community.

Looking on social media today and you will see a lot of the following hashtags: #TransRightsAreHumanRights, #TransPeopleAreNotABurden, #TransPeopleAreNotADisruption.

Unfortunately, there has been what can only be described as a collosal a U-turn in trans rights in the USA in recent times. Last week Donald Trump stated that the US military will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity due to the burden of the medical costs and disruption involved. This is a blow to the trans community who only gained freedom of expression within the military a year ago. This announcement will no doubt legitimise a whole bunch of transphobic behaviours and right now, it feels like we’re taking a huge step back in terms of progression.

Being an Ally …

Whether you’re already clued up about transgender issues, or you’re not so sure and are always worrying that you’ll say the wrong thing – we’re here to help…

A Trans Ally is someone who is cisgender but fights alongside the trans community to tackle prejudice and promote equality. At Ditch the Label we’re all about equality, so here are a few pointers to guide you along the way:

Backhanded compliments suck and need to stop…

“I never would have known you were trans…”- translates as “well done on passing as ‘normal.'” Newsflash: there is no normal! Also, this insinuates that if you had known, you might have treated them differently. Even if you meant it in the best way possible, just steer clear of things like this…

“You’re so beautiful, I can’t even tell that you’re trans.” or  “You’re more attractive than most ‘regular’ men/women”- translation: you don’t really qualify as being normal, but don’t worry, at least you’re very attractive 😉.

There are unfortunately many, many more of these so called ‘back handed compliments’ which most trans people will probably be familiar with. They are either born out of ignorance, hate and intolerance and we look forward to a future where they are no longer in anyones’ vocabulary!

See the person

Do you regularly ask someone about what’s going on in their pants? The size, shape and history of their genitals? Didn’t think so! Please, pretty please don’t ask trans folks about it either! It’s deeply disrespectful and not ok…EVER! See the person, get to know them for who they are, being trans is only one small part of a person’s identity.

Don’t make assumptions about a transgender person’s sexual orientation

Gender identity is different than sexual orientation. Sexuality is about who we are attracted to, whereas gender identity is a person’s own personal sense of being male, female or outside the gender binary. Transgender people can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual or heterosexual.

Ask questions rather than assume

If there is something you’re not clear about, most people will be open to answering your questions as long as they are polite, respectful and not too intrusive. Example: asking someone which pronouns they use is usually fine (she/he/they).

Shut transphobia down

When you see transphobic abuse, report it. Stand up for your friends and stand up for strangers when it feels safe to do so. No one deserves to be abused because of who they are and/or how they identify. By not saying anything you are justifying their prejudice and betraying your own beliefs in equality – standing shoulder to shoulder with the trans community to overcome hate and ignorance is the best thing you can do.

Do your research.

Know about trans issues and current affairs. All you have to do is go online to see what’s going on in the world. Simply being in the know is a good place to start. Form your own opinion and go from there. 

Be Yourself

You don’t need to be anything other than yourself. If you are true ally, you believe in equality and overcoming prejudice, then that’s all you need to do: stand up for what you believe in and support others in the face of adversity.

If you need support from a digital mentor or are dealing transphobia or related issues, join the DTL community. There are a whole bunch of people who can help you today!
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