Every year on November 20, people around the world observe Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). This day serves as a reminder to honour and mourn the lives of transgender people who have been killed because of transphobia and hate. As allies and friends of the transgender community, it is crucial to understand the challenges and risks that transgender individuals face in their daily lives. Transphobia is the fear, hatred, or discrimination of transgender people, who do not identify with their assigned gender at birth.
Transgender people have to fight for basic human rights such as access to healthcare, education, and legal protection. Transgender women of color particularly face higher risks of violence and oppression. According to the International Transgender Day of Remembrance website, at least 375 transgender people were murdered worldwide in 2020. Many more cases go unreported or misgendered.
As individuals, we can play an essential part in being a support system for the transgender community. Let’s take a closer look at ways we can show our support for the transgender community.
Understanding Transgender Issues and Terminology
One of the most fundamental ways to support a transgender individual is to understand transgender issues and terminology. It is important to use correct pronouns and gender identities when referring to a transgender individual. Familiarize yourself with the differences between gender identity, sex assigned at birth, and gender expression. When in doubt, ask politely. It’s better to ask than to assume and potentially cause harm.
Listening to Transgender Voices
Transgender individuals face many challenges and are subject to discrimination, harassment, and hate crimes regularly. Listening to transgender individuals, amplifying their voices, and respecting their privacy is vital in showing support. When seeking to learn from the community, allow the individuals to tell their stories. Avoid making assumptions or asking invasive questions. Respect their privacy and boundaries.
Speaking Up Against Transphobia
As allies for the transgender community, it is essential that we speak up against transphobia. Whether it’s workplace discrimination, bullying, harassment, or violence, silence is not an option. Speak up when someone uses derogatory slurs or discriminates against transgender individuals. Advocate for laws that protect the rights of transgender individuals. Participate in protests or movements that aim to advocate for transgender rights and awareness. Remember, small steps taken can contribute immensely.
Educate Yourself and Others
Transgender individuals often have to spend a considerable amount of time educating others about their gender identity. Actively seek resources to learn more about transgender issues, terminology, and experience. Use the knowledge you gain to educate others around you. Dispel myths and stereotypes used against transgender individuals. Encourage friends and family to follow your lead and show support for trans people.
Promote Visibility and Inclusion
Transgender individuals have often felt isolated, excluded, and invisible. By promoting visibility, we give the community recognition, awareness, and social acceptance. When creating a presentation or event, include transgender persons in your speaking panels or keynote. Allow space and encourage opportunities for transgender individuals to participate and lead. In turn, this will help reduce internalized fears and allow transgender individuals to feel embraced in a more inclusive society.
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