It’s been a week since the International Transgender Day of Visibility. Held every year since 2009 on March 31st, the day is meant to celebrate the accomplishments of trans folks, be it prominent personalities, activists, or unknown individuals who brave the world every day and carry their identities with pride.
However, a day alone isn’t enough to show your support and allyship to the trans community. While it’s important to recognize and appreciate the achievements and accomplishments of trans individuals, for them to gain more success, you need to take your allyship up a notch.
Here are a few things you should do to be a better ally of the trans community.
Understand How Language Emits Transphobia
It may seem like terminology isn’t that big a deal, but trust us, using and understanding the right terms can make the difference between allyship and bigotry. It’s imperative that you study the appropriate terminology used by and for the trans community, and incorporate it in your language.
The most obvious way to do is by using the preferred pronouns for different members of the trans community. Don’t assume that because they present a certain way, they’ll use pronouns typically associated with that appearance. When in doubt, ask.
Similarly, understand what qualifies as transphobic statements and slurs, and refrain from using those. Even seemingly harmless statements or questions can actually be quite discriminatory and hurtful, and be considered as transphobic. Educate yourself about the microaggressions caused because of language, and use inclusive terminology.
Contribute Financially to Trans-Led Organizations
There are several organizations and charities that cater to various LGBTQ issues. Unfortunately, not all of them get equal or adequate funding. Surveys have revealed that trans-led organizations or those that cater specifically to ongoing trans issues receive only 0.015% of all foundation funding. Thus, even though LGBTQ organizations receive funding, it isn’t distributed equally and most trans-led organizations rely on volunteerism and donations.
Play your part by donating generously to your local trans-led organizations. They will benefit tremendously from your financial contributions. Your monetary contribution, as well as donations of other resources, can help the trans community prosper.
Don’t Out Trans Individuals
This should go without saying, but an important part of allyship is respecting a person’s privacy and keeping their identity a secret unless they are openly trans or have allowed you to disclose their identity. Despite society’s progressiveness, many trans individuals still live in fear of disclosing their identities and coming out to the world (or even their loved ones). Some may still be figuring out their own identity and don’t yet wish for it to be revealed.
Whatever their reasons for secrecy are, you cannot out them, even to their loved ones. This decision is solely theirs to make, and you should respect their safety and privacy to keep the secret if that’s what they want.
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