Today’s blog is a break from the norm, not a review of the week gone or a look at the week ahead but something more practical for the discerning reader, the ally who needs some quick tips to make the world a better place.
Being transgender means that one’s gender identity is out of alignment with the gender they were assigned at birth.
Trans is the shortform of transgender and includes all the other terms which have gone out of fashion.
Non-binary means a person whose gender identity does not fit the recognised binary categories of man or woman. A person whose identity sits somewhere within the gender space, or sometimes totally outside of it. Some non-binary identities are fluid, changing depending on internal and external pressures, others are fixed. Not all non-binary people use the term trans or transgender.
Binary transgender is a trans person whose gender identity aligns with the recognised categories of man or woman.
Questioning refers to someone who is exploring their gender identity. They may or may not be trans. They may or may not transition.
Trans* is an umbrella term to include all those who experience some form of misalignment with their assigned gender identity: transgender, non-binary, questioning and sometimes intersex people are all included in this term.
Transition is the process whereupon I bring the “me I am” into the world you see, so that you, and I, can see me. I become, sometimes slowly, sometimes fast, and never in the way any of us totally anticipated, the real and authentic me. Transition is the moving away from the gender I was assigned at birth. I may be going to somewhere but my to can and often does change.
Trans historied means that there are whole days which go by when a person don’t think about all this. When they are just a person; a person who goes to work, who looks after the kids, who is an artist, an engineer, a programmer, a singer. Sometimes they feel more trans than others, some times it matters, sometimes they might even need support. But most of the time it is just an aspect of their whole self, less than the 5% of their whole of me identity. They are settled, secure and feeling authentic.
Pronouns are used in place of a proper noun, for when you need to talk about someone in the third person, for when I am writing or speaking about myself. The most common singular pronouns are she/her/herself; he/him/himself and they/them/themself and it’s always OK to ask.
Titles are used when we want to write a formal letter and Mx is the gender neutral form, used in place of Ms/Mr/Miss/Mrs.
Make sure your company has a Transition at Work policy, don’t wait until someone comes out.
Normalise recording of pronouns – have a box on all your forms, request a change to registration software.
Normalise being proud of your gender identity include your pronouns in your email signature.
Update those old forms that ask if someone is male/female. Ask yourself, do we really need to know? If so then add Other and Prefer Not to Say options.
Create truly gender neutral spaces – remember that gender neutral includes everyone and excludes no one.
If you have filled out a form recently and were not given an Mx or an Other option then message the company, ask them to review their processes to be more trans inclusive.
Never disclose someone’s trans identity without explicit consent.
Respect people’s names and pronouns.
One’s gender identity is sensitive personal data under the data protection act 2018 and accorded additional protections.
Trans and non-binary people are protected under the Equality Act 2010 from direct and indirect discrimination and hate crime.
Being an ally is about taking the weight, about doing some of the work for those around you, acting first and smoothing the path down. The best allies are the ones who create inclusive spaces so that inclusion happens naturally.