So you want to be a transgender ally

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Extend the spirit of remembrance and visibility through the whole year. Here are some ways for cisgender LGBs to engage with, think about, and include our trans and nonbinary siblings.

Don’t Make Assumptions

About a trans person’s sexual orientation and realize they are separate aspects of identity.

Listen & Learn

Ask for and use the pronouns that the person uses. It’s not that hard. Also respect the use of non-binary or gender queer instead of “transgender.”

What’s in a Name?

Don’t ask trans brothers and sisters what their “real name” is. They’re leaving it behind, and so should you.

Challenge & Defend

Speak up if disparaging comments are made behind people’s backs, sadly yes you may have to even in LGB spaces.

It’s Personal

Don’t out people as trans. People’s gender history is confidential and theirs to share (or not).

Be Patient

It may take time for someone to explore and fully realize their gender identity, and every person is different. There’s no right or wrong way to transition, and there’s no time table.

Private Parts

People’s primary sex organs are none of your business, and ditto whether or not they had gender affirming surgeries or any aspect of medical transition.

Sex Life

Sex acts are between the people engaging in them. If you’re cis and gay, think of this one as a straight person asking your habits.

Avoid Backhanded Compliments

Just say no to statements like, “I would have never known,” “You look just like a ‘real woman,’” or “I’d date him even though he’s transgender.” There is no inherent good in “passing for cis” and no inherent bad in “looking trans.”

Be Inclusive

Find ways to include transgender people and topics in workplaces, organizing meetings, public spaces, and other gatherings.


This article also appeared in Q ATLus magazine.Read the full print edition online here:

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