Trans awareness week: Being aware vs being a good ally.

What is the difference between being aware of trans people and being a good ally? Surely awareness is enough, right? Wrong. Theres a huge difference between just doing bare minimum and knowing that trans people exist and supporting trans people to the best of your ability.

It is one thing to say “yeah trans people exist” and another to say that trans people exist as well as understanding that gender is a spectrum and accepting all trans people, regardless of if they’re binary or not. A good way to be aware is by taking time to learn about trans issues. Not only by talking to trans people (sometimes we get exhausted explaining ourselves to people constantly), google it. Many trans people have written guides to being aware of trans issues, utilise these resources. Trans people do not owe it to you to explain everything about their lives and experiences. It. Is. Exhausting.

Be “aware” of trans people all year. We don’t all come out of the woodwork just for November. We exist all year. We struggle all year. We want equal rights and awareness, all year. Understand that we are not the enemy, we are simply living life and would like the world to be more inclusive of not only trans people, but everyone. It genuinely hurts NO ONE to make things inclusive, it does however, make marginalised groups feel more comfortable living. It is a win-win situation.

HOW TO BE A GOOD ALLY

  • Use a trans persons correct pronouns, even when they’re not around. I can’t believe this needs to be said, but if someone refers to your trans friend/family member/coworker with the wrong pronouns, correct them, don’t change how YOU refer to them. Most of the time, the person will be grateful that you corrected them. This is especially important with GNC pronouns. Always refer to people with the correct pronouns.
  • Call out transphobia when you come across it. No matter where you are, call transphobia out. Transphobia can come in many forms; from physical violence, to off the cuff remarks. Sometimes, people don’t even realise they’re being transphobic, until they’re called out. This is why it is so important to call it out, so that people not as educated as yourself in trans matters, can become a better ally and not harm trans people.
  • Dismantle the rigid gender norms. For everyone. Its all well and good saying “men should wear crop tops”, but when that translates to “cis men should wear crop tops”, it becomes an issue. Many times when trans people wear clothes that don’t fit the box that they’re confined into, they are accused of not being trans and this is so harmful. Be a good ally and say no to confining people to the gender norms. This includes non-binary people too. When a non binary person wears “mens” clothes, they are still non binary. When a non binary person wears “womens” clothes, they are still non binary. stop policing what genders can and cannot do and wear.
  • Learn inclusive language. This can range from using they/them pronouns to refer to someone who’s gender you may not know (or to refer to GNC folks), to calling “feminine hygiene” products “menstrual products”. This also means you need to understand that trans men are men, trans women are women and that a persons genitals does not determine their gender. Understand that it really isn’t that hard to be inclusive and once you get into the mindset, it is one of the easiest things to do.
  • Lastly, understand your cis privilege. Understand that people are more likely to listen to cis people as they are the minority, so amplify trans voices, rather than speaking over them. Understand that some trans people are in fact discriminated against and murdered, purely for being trans. This just isn’t the case for cis people. You. Are. Not. Discriminated. Against. For. Being. Cis.

 

Side Note: Support trans creators. Trans people are often discriminated against in the work place and find it harder to get and keep a job, so support them the best you can. It really is appreciated.

Go to your local TDoR (Trans day of remembrance) event on 20th November. A great way to kick off being a good ally, is to support your local TDoR event, where we mourn the trans people who have sadly lost their lives this year.

 

Protest

The last time I participated in a protest was Trans Pride Brighton, in summer 2018. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a protest, more a political parade- something I had never experienced before and instantly I wanted to participate in more. There is something so powerful about disrupting peoples journeys whilst standing for something you believe in and fighting for visibility.

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My most recent protest though was a counter-protest. The far-right in London were protesting to get former EDL leader Tommy Robinson out of prison, so of course I was on the other side of this, opposing his ideologies and the fascists that idolise him. For those who don’t know who Tommy Robinson is, you’re lucky! He is one of the biggest influencers of misoginism, racism and fascism in the UK and his huge platform and following is terrifying. So, I day-tripped it down to London to make my voice heard and to piss off some fascists (which I was massively successful in doing).

Read about the protests detailsĀ here.

Some of my favourite hate messages from the far-right are below! Its always wonderful knowing you’ve really struck a nerve with terrible people. Truly lovely bunch of fascists *sarcasm*

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colours

-Alex

ps. It totally didn’t take me hours to make that gif. Uh what?

A new kind of professional.

How do you define professional? Is it someone with no tattoos and piercings, someone with no public personality and someone who always keeps up a perfect persona? If it is, get with the times!

Honestly, I don’t even think there is such thing as a “professional” anymore, just people, who due to capitalism, are more well-known than others. For example (lets stick with something I know and say creators), now, creators fall into many categories and sub categories, such as “famous”, “Professional”, “amateur”, “beginner” etc, but in reality, the “famous” people are just those with large followings and may in fact be less “professional” than those who fall into the professional category. Okay my heads beginning to spin with all this!

Essentially where I’m trying to get to with this, is that many people will tell you that sharing your thoughts and feelings, ups and downs on social media is deemed unprofessional. This may have been true many years ago, but now, in the age of technology, it is often a way to connect with your larger audience. People don’t want to follow people who are closed off, seemingly “perfect” as this isn’t a true representation of anyone on the planet. No one only has highs and whilst its seemingly an influencers talent to only show the pool parties, holidays and luxury foods, this, as pointed out by many articles, is just not real-life. However, I also do not think that we should shame these people for only showing their highs, just as we shouldn’t shame people for showing their highs and lows.

For me, and many other people, posting our struggles help combat the dark times we are going through. I personally, don’t tend to do it as often as I did, purely because my mind is in a much better place, however, if I was to mentally struggle again I would not want to be deemed “unprofessional” and “unemployable” for this. Many people praise mental health advocates for says x, y and z about mental health, the congratulate magazines for writing an article romanticising depression, but when someone who may be in the public eye shows the ugly sides of these mental illnesses, they are automatically deemed as unprofessionalism. From what I can gather, this is often because people never want to actually admit that these things happen to people, but on the flip side, there are people who are genuinely grateful that people share these experiences because it makes them feel less alone.

Lets use my own experiences for example, being a transgender male, I have struggled with many aspects of my identity, coming to terms with the fact I wasn’t cis and having very extreme lows due to dysphoria. I have documented this process throughout to where I am today, not for “attention”, but to hopefully make at least one person feel less alone in what they are experiencing and to normalise the feelings that trans people experience throughout their transition. Now, in the past, this could have been seen as unprofessional as sometimes, the experience isn’t happy and has been a source of great depression, sharing this would have been frowned upon. However, in 2019, this is helpful and the age of the internet is turning into a generation who can share their experiences, without fear that they are going to be viewed differently.

This is a shift from the last “unprofessional” debate that happened (and is still ongoing), of tattoos and piercings. As lots of people rightly think nowadays, “How on earth do tattoos and piercings mean that you cannot fulfil your job correctly”, there are still the odd person from previous generations of people who see them as strictly “unprofessional” and not suitable for work places. Thankfully, many places are becoming accustomed to allowing workers to have tattoos, piercing and dyed hair. So, when will people stop seeing mental health as an unprofessional trait to have- when in reality, it is not something that we choose. Why is talking about our own mental health experiences seen as unprofessional?

I’ll leave you here with one last thought: How is someone tweeting “Today I really want to die” seen as unprofessional, yet the President of the USA tweeting childish statements such as; “Truly weird Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky reminds me of a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain. He was terrible at DEBATE!” and “Dopey @Lord_Sugar I’m worth $8 billion and you’re worth peanuts…without my show nobody would even know who you are.” You would almost think as president, he would have some kind of standard to uphold, but apparently not. (I have chosen slightly less offensive tweets) And I mean do I even need to say it? Talking publicly about grabbing woman by the p*ssy is DEFINITELY unprofessional and for ever will be.

I’ll definitely stick to reading people live tweet their depressive episodes (and of course reach out) and tweet my own depressive episodes, than read/tweet completely absurd, offensive, childish drivel.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Alex

*it was a long one this time oops, full rant mode got me*