Nine very easy things to do… to help trans people

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Nine very easy things to do… to help trans people


1 Think about the language you use

Trans people find a lot of the language about them in the media hurtful. This is not about anyone’s ‘right to offend’. It is about talking about each other in the correct, kind words. ‘She/he’, ‘shemale’, ‘tranny’ are not correct or helpful. To say ‘It’ is cruel. ‘Sex change’ doesn’t describe the process. The language we use about trans people affects the way we treat trans people. So, if you want to treat trans people fairly and equally, start with the words you use.

2 Think carefully about the ideas you have

You often can’t know someone by looking at them. You can’t know what our pronouns are, what our histories are, how we describe ourselves – so don’t try. Having ideas about someone just by looking at them is generally a very bad way of being with other humans.

3 Think about safety

If someone tells everyone they are trans or not can be a matter of life and death. You don’t have a right to decide on that. If this sounds exaggerated, search online: ‘trans panic defence’. Lawyers acting for killers of trans people use this as a defence. They use it to excuse their ‘loss of control’ and ‘excessive violence’, to get the crime changed to a less serious crime, from murder to manslaughter.

4 Don’t think that our medical histories are for you to talk about

If there’s a good reason why you need to know our medical histories and medical plans, we’ll tell you. And no – interest in what is in our underwear is not a good reason.

5 Don’t think you will know what we will say

It’s not helpful when a cis man -someone born as a man - tells a trans man ‘but I’d LOVE to have breasts’.

6 Don’t think that we need lessons on how to be our gender

You are not there as a a model for us to copy. We don’t need lessons on how to be ‘real’ men or ‘real’ women or ‘real’ anything. If you want to pay someone a compliment, do it for the right reasons. Don’t do it because you think that you have the right to confirm someone’s gender.

7 Learn your facts and tell others about them

Learn about the risks and discrimination faced by trans people – the violence, homelessness, unemployment, suicides, forced sterilizations. Then tell others. Don’t act like we are something no one can talk about. Talk about trans issues; share articles on social media; recommend writers that you like; email your local and national politicians. Don’t just shake your head and do nothing.

8 Support us

Don’t just support us to our faces – real support means supporting us when we can’t defend ourselves.

9 Support trans charities and organisations

There’s very little money around at the moment. But if you have any extra money, please think about giving money to a trans organization. It all helps. Trans groups and charities often have very little money and do surprising things. Think how much we could do with a little more help.


(This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).