It’s not just about dating and sex—if you want to be an ally to transgender people, stand up and be counted.
It can be difficult to admit your sexual preferences publicly, but that’s not necessarily the obstacle that keeps us from supporting transgender women. More often, it’s simply not knowing how.
You can start with these simple suggestions.
7 Ways to Support the Transgender Community
2. Sign Your Name
It’s not enough to sign, sign, sign, but it’s a start. It’s better than not signing, and there are lots of petitions circling around for transgender rights. It’s the most effortless participation possible, and easy to add your two cents with a click. You’ll find petitions on Twitter, in emails, on clipboards at the mall. If the motive moves you, your autograph only takes two seconds.
3. Speak Up when Circumstances Require It
There’s no need to suffer in silence when you hear false information about transgender people, or when you hear people mocking trans people, or in need of information that you might be able to provide. When good people spoke up—to defend women, black people, immigrants, gay people—things changed.
4. Share Your Dating Life with Trusted Friends
Forget about kissing and telling and going overboard on the details—but if you keep the fact that you date trans women (exclusively or occasionally) under lock and key, consider what the impact of that secrecy means in the long run.
We don’t have to divulge our every hookup or desire to our friends and family. But acting as if there’s something shameful about dating transgender women is kind of like being the guy who couldn’t tell his friends that he was in an interracial relationship.
Some aspects of our sex life aren’t anybody’s business. But by candidly sharing the fact that you date transgender women, or introducing your trans girlfriend to your friends, you validate her humanity and you encourage your peers to think differently.
5. Hire Transgender People
If you happen to be in a managerial or business position and in charge of giving out jobs, one of the number one ways you can support transgender people is by hiring them. Discrimination on the job is one of the main ways that transgender people suffer, with catastrophic economic consequences that spiral into social problems.
Trans women have long been forced to turn to sex work in much higher numbers than women or men. For the record, I support sex workers and sex work—that doesn’t mean everyone who does it wants to do it. Let’s be part of the solution, and provide alternative jobs or an alternative to unemployment and poverty if we are in the position to do so.
6. Encourage Inclusivity in Your Institutions, Community, and Beyond
Your softball team, your boardroom, your kids’ school, your mosque or synagogue, your bank—all are partially influenced by community members like you. When you introduce your transgender friends, when you speak up for trans inclusivity, when you raise your hand for transgender rights wherever you are, businesses and organizations are empowered to change.
7. Get Out and Vote
Vote for people who stand up for the needs and rights of transgender people. Vote for transgender folks.
How are you making a difference? Tell us how you support your transgender community!