A friend of mine went to a presentation by the fabulous Janet Mock recently, and took this photo. Part of the presentation talked about how non-trans* people be allies to trans* folks. She fleshed these points out a lot more at the presentation, but I want to share her list and add my own thoughts as well [my additions are in brackets]. I hope that trans* readers will comment!
10 Things You Can Do Now [to be an effective ally to trans* people]:
What do you think of this list? What would you add?
5/9/2013 01:08:04 pm
Standard for me.
5/9/2013 01:24:04 pm
The poet Tara Hardy said it best, "Let's all stop spending so goddam much time thinking about genitals that are not our own, shall we?"
5/9/2013 01:27:53 pm
Yes that is true. I've had everyone from the arsehole running the Danbury, CT homeless shelter system, Mike Flannigan; to yet another " Christian" imbecile at another homeless shelter-the Good Samaritan House in Carbondale, IL; ask me to prove that I had the " sex change". That and also given a huge hassle from Pastor Rich Young at the Chico, CA " Jesus Center, Inc. a soup kitchen and women's shelter run by biblical literalists acting as " charlatans". The driver's license simply was not " proof enough" for these jackals of "faith" and civil servants.
5/9/2013 03:14:11 pm
My first thought was why the asterisk when mentioning trans?
5/10/2013 12:55:28 am
The astrix just denotes that one is speaking about the entire trans spectrum and not just one subset of the trans* umbrella.
5/10/2013 03:57:47 am
The asterisk signifies the inclusiveness of the trans* umbrella, as in it includes not only transsexual men and women, but people who are transgendered, transvestites, genderqueer, gender neutral and so on.
5/10/2013 02:44:25 am
I don't believe in binary gender so to me a true trans person is neither male nor female, genderqueer. I think a lot of MtF and FtM, however, actually have very traditional and conservative concepts of gender, ie, they associate the way they dress with gender. The way a person dresses is 100% culturally defined - wearing or not wearing dresses, makeup, heels, etc.. is not inherently male or female. I've also known of butch women who think they must be trans, "male" because they are butch, masculine, which does not make sense to me. Being a "masculine" man or a "feminine" woman is completely normal and doesn't mean that a person is transgendered.
5/10/2013 09:38:52 am
trans women and trans men who identify solidly as men or women are still trans people under the trans umbrella. The trans umbrella says that any person whose sex/gender does not match up with those with which they were assigned at birth are trans.
5/11/2013 02:11:11 pm
Blue, I think people are free to identify themselves as they want and deserve ALL protection from discrimination but I know many MTF and FTM people who are actively hostile towards the LGB community and genderqueer community for raising these issues with them - it is not "transphobic" to discuss these issues. There are some YouTube videos posted by an FTM, for instance, that are incredibly, shockingly homophobic.I can post a link if you are interested. I think that being truly genderqueer means that your body and your mind do not have to "match" and that when you have surgery you are actually being very NON-genderqueer. Another issue is that MANY in the LGB community see T issues as separate and do not like that the T community insists that they all be under the same umbrella. My main point is that many T people should not accuse everyone who may disagree with them on gender identity issues of being transphobic and should understand that active hostility towards the LGB and non-binary genderqueer communities is not gaining them any allies.
5/10/2013 02:57:00 am
The asterisk in trans* is to indicate a broader umbrella, that includes people who ID as transgender, transsexual (and infinite are the arguments of trans*folk as to what either of those mean!), trans-questioning, genderqueer, and a whole load of other gender-nonconforming labels too.
5/10/2013 02:58:48 am
I suppose I don't agree with #9. If you don't know the person absolutely. But if you are close or considering a relationship there should absolutely be openness around this. Books may explain the scientific portion but not what that individuals experience was. I think it only creates more of a stigma by not talking about it.
5/10/2013 04:59:56 am
I think there's a huge difference between, for example, saying "Would you mind if I ask you about your transition, and whether any surgery was/will be involved? I'm really interested but don't want to trample any boundaries..." (which opens a space for them to decide what, if anything, they want to tell you) and what we more usually get, which is often more like "So, are you going to get it cut off, then?" *rolls eyes*
Bless this post. I have been wondering how to actively be a trans* ally for a while. I also, though, believe in asking if it's okay to inquire about something, and then asking if you are given permission, but I wouldn't ask someone I didn't already know well anyway.
I have a number of trans friends (and ex's) and the one thing that they and butches have is common is the accidental use of the incorrect pronouns. The same goes, just apologise, don't make a big thing of it, they are generally used to it.
5/19/2013 12:09:00 am
Excellent post! I linked to it on my blog: http://springbyker.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/transgender-how-to-be-an-ally-instead-of-an-asshat/
6/17/2013 11:44:13 am
I would like to get educated, but I don't know where to start. Can you give me some websites, reccomend some books?
6/19/2013 05:37:30 am
Probably a good book to start with, Amma, would be Understanding Transsexualism for Families and Friends-Mildred L Brown and Chloe Rounsley.
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