With Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) just around the corner (November 20th), our first instinct was to write a post about why it’s important to acknowledge trans individuals who have been violently killed simply for their identity. But we can do more than that. Though we mourn the bright lives that were lost to violence, we’d like to implore you, our readers, to do more than mourn. Become an ally of trans individuals. This is perhaps the most important way to help this cause as it may spare lives in the future. We can help prevent this violence by becoming allies and challenging transphobia when we encounter it. Below is a small “taste” of ways to become an ally of the movement, but for a more detailed guide to being an ally, we really liked this e-book.
Don’t make assumptions about their sexual orientation
Gender identity is different from sexual orientation. Don’t assume that because someone identifies one way that they are making a claim of who they’re attracted to.
Use the right pronouns (his/hers/theirs)
Listen to what pronouns the individual is using or the people close to them are using. If you’re still unsure, ask! It’s better to ask a sincere question than to say something incorrect or hurtful.
Be careful not to share confidential information about the trans person without their permission
While some trans individuals may be very forthcoming with information about their gender identity history, others may feel uncomfortable sharing private information like this with others. As with anything, make sure you’re not sharing any personal information with others that you haven’t been given explicit permission to do so.
Do not ask about a trans person’s genitals or surgical status
Just like you wouldn’t ask a cisgender (someone who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth) about their genitals, it is inappropriate to ask a trans individual about their genitals or if they are “pre- or post-op”.
Challenge transphobic remarks or jokes
If you hear it, say something. Letting people know these kinds of jokes and comments are offensive is a great first step in fighting transphobia. No matter who it is (LGBT activists or non) challenge these remarks.
Support gender-neutral bathrooms
Help support gender-variant individuals by letting them know they can use whichever washroom they feel comfortable using.
On Monday, November 20th, SAMRU and MRU will honour trans, two-spirited, and missing and murdered indigenous women and girls who lost their lives this past year. Meet us in the Iniskim Centre (C201) at 4:30 pm and follow us on a guided walk through campus. We’ll convene in the Gallery on the second floor of Wyckham House for a ceremony and reception. We hope you’ll join us.
For more information, visit the Facebook event page.