March 31 is Trans Day of Visibility

Tomorrow is #TransDayOfVisibility and I am feeling extremely lucky to be fully out at work, using my true name, married to my one true love, and raising a kiddo that understands the importance of treating everyone with respect. My life is average, loving and mostly filled with the same day-to-day responsibilities as the next person… but folks just like me are having their rights stolen in the US, the UK and other places around the world.

I am incredibly privileged, but many of my trans brothers and sisters who find themselves further marginalized by hateful laws are more likely to suffer from severe depression and even harm themselves. We need allies who don’t just claim to support us, but who make phone calls to lawmakers and donate to legal defence funds so that trans folks may reclaim their bodily autonomy. I choose to be visible because I thought I would lose everything by coming out, but instead I have gained everything.

So, here’s how to start acting like a trans ally

1. Stop using gendered language with strangers.

Get out of the habit of mindlessly saying sir, miss, ma’am etc. By not assuming someone’s gender, you provide a safe space for anyone around you to express how they feel most comfortable. Over time I’ve realized how disingenuous these salutations really sound, and that being polite doesn’t actually require them.

2. Quickly correct yourself when you misgender someone accidentally.

Don’t dwell on it or take it as an opportunity to give a speech about how sorry you are, and much you earnestly support trans people. This prolongs the embarrassment, turns the focus on you, and outs the other person as trans to anyone observing the conversation. This is how it should happen “I was going to send her — (um) — them the files but my internet was down” or “When is he — sorry, she supposed to get back?” These small corrections are more discreet and act as a positive example for others. We notice!

3. Finally, take note of the hate and bigotry all around you.

The volume is on full blast and we are sick of hearing it. Cisgender and queer allies alike need to fight like hell to protect us from misinformation, gatekeeping and hateful legislation.