The weeklong celebration recognised as Transgender Awareness Week, that runs from November 13 to November 19, aims to increase public awareness regarding transgender persons and address concerns that the community faces. During the week, transgender individuals and their allies take action by informing the public about transgender issues, sharing personal experiences, and promoting activism against the discrimination and violence that afflict the transgender community, transgender persons and their allies work to raise awareness of the community.
- DON’T TOLERATE HATE
This could be something verbal like a passing comment or something more something more extreme. Either way, call out the hatred and surround yourself with like-minded allies.
- RESPECT PRONOUNS
Appearances are not everything, you cannot always tell how an individual would like to be identified (unless of course they are wearing a pronoun pin or lanyard). If you’re in a situation where you don’t know, just ask! Alternatively, I like using my pronouns in my introduction to someone new, so they know they are in a respected environment to share their preferences.
- BE PATIENCE WITH THOSE QUESTIONING THEIR GENDER IDENTITY
This isn’t always a simple answer or switch for people. In some cases, an individual may flip between a selection of pronouns as they connect with them. This process takes time to even identify in oneself, so having allies to support through all steps of the journey is vital.
- DON’T WORRY ABOUT WHAT BATHROOMS PEOPLE USE
I feel like this one could simply be summarized as: Mind Your Business! As mentioned above, you can’t always tell a person’s identity by appearance. Plus, if you ask ANYONE, they would all agree that the worst time to get stopped for a conversation is when you’re heading to the washroom.
- LISTEN TO TRANS AND GENDER DIVERSE VOICES
There are several ways you can take part in this! Find a local GSRD Panel to attend, find a new podcast, or find a new book. No one story will reflect every Trans or Gender Diverse experience, so open your heart and mind to learn about their experiences.
- DON’T ASSUME IF YOU CAN TELL SOMEONE IS TRANSGENDER
People who identify as transgender, non-binary, or gender varied don’t all look the same, and many may not be outwardly transgender or non-binary. You shouldn’t put pressure on someone you know to reveal their gender identity. Their body and it’s anomality is a right for all.
- BE CAREFUL ABOUT CONFIDENTIALITY OR ACCIDENTAL OUTING
You can never be too safe when it comes to an individual’s identity with others in their life. If a friend shares the latest in their gender and identity journey, it doesn’t mean they are sharing this information with everyone in their life. Ensure you are keeping respect of their privacy at the for front of your engagements with them and others.
- USE GENDER NEUTRAL LANGUAGE
Now this isn’t an easy task to completely switch up your language but starting in small ways makes a big impact for others in ways you may not understand or know. A switch from “welcome ladies and gents” to “welcome folks” can be the difference in an inclusive experience.
- LEARNING AND UNLEARNING
We have been trained to believe that this rigid gender binary is inherent, but there are many diverse gender identities and ways that people can express them. In order to be an ally, you must examine and relearn many of the gender stereotypes you may hold as fact, be receptive to new ideas, and be willing to accept gender diversity as a reality.
- KEEP IT APPROPRIATE
I will again refer this one to: Mind Your Business! You and your body are your business, and the same goes for everyone else. It’s not your place to know or questions what any individual’s anatomy may be. Now this covers anything from an individual’s genitalia, surgical or treatment status, or their sex lives. Bottom line: if you wouldn’t ask a cisgender person, don’t ask a trans person either!