A Primer to Meeting, Knowing and Affirming the Trans Folks in Your Life

We, the youth from Transcend’s Drop In Center, want to tell you a few things about how to be a rad ally to trans people.

Step One:

  • Pronouns are important! We think it would be so cool if teachers or adults asked everyone their pronouns regardless of how “obvious” those pronouns may be.
  • As a trans person, don’t be afraid to assert your pronouns. You are valid. That is your name. Those are you pronouns. And you deserve to be honored and affirmed.
  • Also, you don’t have to come out before you are ready. You know your situation best. You don’t owe your story to anybody. (But we really hope you have some people in your life who will celebrate the amazing human that you are!)
  • Use the correct pronouns for people even when you’re mad at them or when they are not in the room. Don’t misgender someone as a punishment. That is not rad.
  • If you mess up, don’t make a big deal out of it. Even we mess up each other’s pronouns sometimes. Apologize and move on. The best way to show you care is your actions moving forward.

Step Two:

  • Some of us are excited when you want to get to know us and learn more about our identities. Please remember that we aren’t walking dictionaries about queerness and being trans, so here are some helpful tips before you ask us questions:

o   Questions about someone’s birth name are almost always off limits. Even if one person is totally fine with sharing, don’t assume that everyone else will be.

o   Awkward body questions need to stop. How I pee, how I have sex, what surgeries I may or may not have or will have or want to have, what’s on my chest or in pants is none of your business.

o   Before you ask a question, think about the relationship you have with that person, what venue you’re asking that question and whether it’s relevant for the interaction. Generally, we can tell when people are being authentic.

Step Three:

  • Trust that we are the experts on our experience. Listen to us when we tell you who are and affirm our identities in every space and conversation.
  • Keep Learning! Times change. Terms change. Words carry weight and stigma. We find better ways to describe our experiences and that’s pretty RAD. Don’t get caught up in not understanding every term or label. Ask us how you can support us. Different people need different things. Google (with caution)! And continue to learn. Our world is better when all people can live authentically.
  • To the queer and trans people reading this- you are magic! You are valid! You make our world a better place!

o   To learn more:

Thank you for helping create safe, supportive and celebratory spaces for LGBTQ+ people!

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