Gender is never a clear-cut, binary issue for most.
Take me for example. Growing up I was more like a boy than a girl.
I was naturally drawn to what was considered to be boys toys, clothing, hobbies and interests and when I was about six years old I apparently asked my mum if it was okay if I was ‘a boy type girl’.
I have always been a tomboy and when I did try to be overly feminine it felt somewhat uncomfortable. So as a result I identify as gender non-conforming.
So with that in mind, my discomfort with trying to fit into a gender stereotype that didn’t feel like me helped me understand what it must be like when your brain is at odds with your body or your gender identity doesn’t meet the expectations of others.
The other reason that I am so passionate about supporting transgender rights is because of the still prevalent violence and discrimination against trans* people.
In an article from the Huffington Post in 2015 the statistics. on harassment, discrimination in the medical profession and the suicide rates are shocking.
So what can we do to help be better allies?
- Learn more about the trans* spectrum. A friend of mine, Emma Cusdin co-founder of Trans*formation, often uses the Genderbread person as a way of informing people about the complex trans* spectrum.
- Check out what policies your organization has in place that support trans* people. You can work with organizations like Stonewall, Trans*formation and Gires to ensure trans* employees are being supported adequately.
- Provide safe spaces for trans* people to meet and network.
- Never assume anyone’s identity, wait for them to self identify.
- Once they have self identified ask them what pronouns they would prefer you to use when referring to them.
- Work to provide gender neutral toilets.
- Be an open supporter of the transgender calendar events like Day of Visibility and Day of Remembrance.
- Organize awareness raising events.
- Keep the conversation alive on a regular basis – talking about the trans* community positively can help to reduce discrimination and violence towards trans* people.
Main image: Trans advocate and musician Jaimie Wilson. Follow Jaimie on Instagram.
*****YOUR WORDS DO NOT DEFINE ME…I DEFINE ME***** don’t let anyone tell you who you are. At the end of the day your body is no one else’s home but your own. Your taste in music, your sexuality, how you dress, the way you wear your hair…PLEASE don’t ever be ashamed of those things and better yet NEVER feel the need to change to make others around you happy. Remember, the way people treat you is a reflection of themselves. No matter what horrible things people say to you or about you, those words do NOT define who you are. Keep doing you…cause you’re pretty damn awesome! March 31st is #transgenderdayofvisibility and I choose to be visible in hopes to encourage others and show people that being yourself is worth it. #trans #transmen #transman #transgender #transisbeautiful #transmenofinstagram #prideflag #ftm #femaletomale #translivesmatter #lgbt #lovewins #loveislove #nohate #noh8 #androgynous #progress #lgbtq #queer #genderqueer #genderfluid #gay #selfmademan #testosterone #instagay #selflove #bewhoyouare #loveyourself #pride
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