Transgender women and men face discrimination and bias in all areas of their lives – in education, legal systems, health care, housing, employment, and in their own families. And when a transgendered person also identifies themselves as a person with a disability, belonging to a racial or ethnic minority, in a lower economic status, or as elderly – there can be even more challenges. A trans person may not know exactly why they are being discriminated against – because of trans misconceptions or something else.
Discrimination can come in all forms and cover a broad spectrum, all the way from a nasty glance to physical violence. And if this discrimination carries on into the legal system, there is little hope for change and justice.
Time to back this up a little. Our readership at I HEART TS respect trans people, especially trans women, so you may be wondering why I’m on this mini-rant. I am because I think it’s not always enough to admire from afar (which I know many of you do); sometimes you need to step up to the plate and support the groups you love. And this doesn’t always mean that you have to reveal your love of t-women.
How to Support the Trans Women you Love
- Educate yourself about transgender issues by reading books, trans news articles, websites, and blogs. Join online forums and engage in discussions with trans people.
- Use pronouns and names that are appropriate to a person’s gender presentation; if you’re not sure, ask. Honesty about your confusion will be appreciated.
- Don’t assume a trans person’s sexual orientation by appearance or rumours. Gender identity and sexual preference can be two different things.
- Ask questions without being pushy with the transgenders in your life; listen attentively.
- Understand that trans women are individuals in how they identify themselves even though they may be part of a larger group.
- If you’re already involved with, or a close friend of a trans person , you may need your own support. Joining a group can be a great way to broaden your trans community as well of your understanding of trans issues.
- Advocate and get involved by joining action committees and learning more about laws and rights of trans people.
How do you support the trans women you love?