Transphobia 101: How to be an Ally

Transphobia, according to Google, is an intense dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people. Transphobia has rapidly risen in the limelight during the Trump administration. Donald Trump during his campaign and presidency has used transgender slurs and passed transphobic legislation. His openness of transphobia has created an atmosphere that seems as if it is okay to further oppress the trans community. Though, it is NOT.

The issue is not solely caused by the presidency of Trump but by a group of people who do not see the impact their choice-words can have. For instance, many people will say, “I won’t date a trans person because they’re trans.” This is not only transphobic but invalidating someone else’s gender identity. By determining whether or not you will pursue a romantic relationship based off of someone’s gender identity essentially says that their gender is not real due to their sex assigned at birth posing some type of issue. Similar to this is the statement, “I can’t tell if that’s a he, she, or it.” Many people lack the understanding that many trans people are constantly aware of their outward appearances. Another problematic portion of this sentence is the use of the word “it." In most instances, it is best to ask the person what their preferred pronouns are. Those who do not identify with the gender binary may choose to use an array of pronouns: they/them or ey/eim/eir/eirs/eirself. In addition to this, when this statement is said to or heard by a trans person, it may also worsen their gender dysphoria— one’s unease or discomfort with their body because their sex assigned at birth does not align with their gender identity.

Transphobia continues to plague the United States as topics regarding sexuality and gender identity are more freely discussed. To say a trans person, that identifies as straight, is not actually straight due to their sex assigned at birth only further disqualifies this person’s identity. The people in the trans community identify with different sexualities and should never be seen as lesser simply because they are transgender. It’s important to understand that people in the trans community are no less human and deserve the same respect that cisgender people—someone whose gender identity aligns with their sex assigned at birth— receive. Likewise using transphobic terms including “tr*nny” are extremely offensive and should never be used.

Commonly trans people are faced with questions regarding their outward appearance, but to ask these questions are extremely inappropriate and uncomfortable. It’s important to keep in mind that not all trans people will choose to or will be able to undergo any medical procedures as a part of their gender affirmation. Moreover, for some trans people, their identity may not rely on their physical appearance. But to keep from offending someone, a good rule of thumb is to not ask personal questions regarding medical procedures or pharmaceutical matters. It is extremely harmful to the tran person’s self confidence as well as negatively contributes to any gender dysphoria they may be enduring.  

The trans community is an umbrella group for many different gender identifying people who deserve the utmost respect and kindness. Lady Gaga, a major supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community once said, “I think tolerance and acceptance and love is something that feeds every community.” In order to create a safe space for people of all identities in the current societal atmosphere, every person needs to demonstrate compassion and kindness to those who cross their path. The trans community is faced with many obstacles from legislation to slurs. If people were to refrain from creating and spreading transphobia, it could create a positive conversation regarding the trans community and encourage the dissemination of knowledge that is supports transgender people legally and socially. We can all combat transphobia with kindness, respect, and compassion for people who are trying to live their most authentic lives.