March 31 marks the International Day of Transgender Visibility.
In honor of this day, we wanted to bring you some resources to help you better understand transgender issues, and hopefully be a better ally to our trans/non-binary friends and family.
The National Center for Transgender Equality is full of information and resources for those seeking to support the transgender individuals in our circles, and in our larger communities. We hope you will take a moment to watch this beautiful video that gives an introduction to transgender people.
Our hearts were moved by their stories, and we felt so honored to listen to their sometimes painful experiences: https://fb.watch/4wLS8671Fp/
For those who may not have met a transgender person in their life, or are not aware they have, we’d like to give a brief overview of basic terms that will hopefully aid in your understanding.
A transgender person is a person who identifies with a gender that is different than the one they were thought to be at birth. Thus a transgender man is a man who may have “female” written on his birth certificate, and a transgender woman is a woman who may have “male” written on their birth certificate. A non-binary person doesn’t identify with either gender.
It’s important to understand that there is no one way or a correct way to be transgender. The most important thing is to always give respect and to follow their lead. Using correct pronouns, and the name that they currently identify as is one of the simplest things that we can do to be respectful. Also, it is important to understand that pictures of their previous identity or using a name that they previously went by can trigger extremely painful emotions, so don’t pry or be insensitive.
Gender expression is how someone dresses or presents themselves in public that gives other people cues to their gender identity. Giving respect and space to a spectrum of gender expressions is a way that we can show love to all people. How a person chooses to dress, whether they choose to wear makeup or shave, are all personal decisions and should be honored as such.
The National Center for Transgender Equity has helpfully put together a handout on the basics of understanding transgender people. We encourage you to check it out here: https://transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/resources/Understanding-Trans-Short-July-2016_0.pdf You can find it on their website as well as FAQ and other great resources.
Know that sometimes we will get it wrong, but the important thing is to own our mistakes and keep trying. Currently, at least 25 states have anti-trans legislation proposed. Many of these bills affect trans children.
We urge you to read up about the issues from reputable sources, and then contact the governors of states with this legislation and urge them to take action. For more information and responses to common arguments against trans kids’ healthcare and participation in sports, please visit pinkmantaray.com/transbills.
Transgender and nonbinary people are frequent targets of discrimination and violence. This is unacceptable. We need to stand up and make sure that everyone is safe, accepted, and has a seat at the table. Whether we fully understand another person’s lived experiences and feelings, we need to protect their rights as if they were our own, and show them respect. We hope you will join us in listening, learning, loving, and taking action.