By Dante Adonis Rhodes
This week’s podcast was about transgender individuals which gave to my own personal reflections on the mistreatment of transgender people and how we must all do better
Transgender people, since the beginning of the modern LGBTQ movement, have been the backbone of not only progression, but the pillar of confidence, bravery, and support within our very bold community. That ‘T’ has implications beyond gender and sex revelations, but an identity revival that many refuse to accept or respect. This happens even within our own community.
A larger part of this conversation is realizing that there isn’t a perfect way to be an ally. Transgender people have different traits and nuances that make then unique. These attribute to them needing varied levels or support. At the core of it, leading with love and care will always go the furthest and reduce levels of miscommunication or misinterpretation. It starts with being more conscious of your verbiage and actions. It continues with being more aware of making jokes about ‘clocking’ someone or speaking on things no longer relevant to their current experience. This goes a long way.
When you interact with someone who is transgender, it is vital that you use the name they have given you and the pronouns they use. Doing anything otherwise serves no one justice and perpetuates the privilege that cis-gendered people so often abuse. Below is an excerpt from transequality.org that provides more clarity on respectability:
Be careful and considerate about what other questions you ask. There are many topics—medical transition, life pre-transition, sexual activity—that you may be curious about. That doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to ask a transgender person about them, or expect a transgender person to be comfortable sharing intimate details about themselves. There are two questions you can ask yourself that may help determine if a topic is appropriate to bring up:
“Do I need to know this information to treat them respectfully?” Asking someone’s name and pronoun is almost always appropriate, as we use that information in talking to and about each other every day. Beyond that, though, you may be curious about questions that are not things you truly need to know. For example, a transgender coworker’s surgical history is rarely information that you need to know.
“Would I be comfortable if this question was turned around and asked of me?” Another good way to determine if a question is appropriate is to think about how it would feel if someone asked you something similar. For example, it would probably not feel appropriate for a coworker to ask you about your private areas of your body. Likewise, it’s probably not appropriate to ask similar questions about a transgender coworker’s body.
Speaking for us all at The Gayly Dose, I think it is important that we not only protect our transgender sisters & brothers, but uplift them without hesitation. They have protected us and fought for us for decades. Now it is time we meet them where they have been waiting for us, in the realm of equality.