We often get asked questions about how to be an ally. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re either trans+ or you’re an ally – or want to be (so, an ally).
One of the ways in which you can take some of the pressure of your trans+ siblings is by promoting that trans+ people aren’t weird and don’t need pity.
Promote support for all, and remind your cis siblings that asking someone outright is neither helpful or necessary – the best thing they can do is to recognise everyone as their own person.
What we know is that being accepted is one of the biggest factors in people feeling a part of a community and has a positive effect on their mental health. Not just trans+ people – ALL people.
So the first step is to not ask, to not differentiate between those who are trans and those who are cis. The time for differentiating is if and when someone asks for support, and times when an ally voice is needed in a more general space.
The latter, for me, includes calling out transphobic comments when I feel able. Many of these are jokes that people have not even reaslied are possibly problematic – I like to take a calm and respectful tone with these. It might just open someone’s eyes or help them to realise the harm their comments may be making.
The plain hateful comments? I think of these as falling into the area of ‘sometimes self care is not wasting time arguing with people who want to misunderstand you’ – I leave a calm comment then move on.
If a cis person is doing this, a trans+ person may not have to, and may feel less excluded in future. It might be as simple as a positive comment on a thread of nastiness allowing someone to know they are not alone.
The take away here? Everyone has a different experience of life, being trans is just one of those many, many experiences that people can have.