Often well-intentioned cis folks like myself feel kind of overwhelmed by all there is to know and, not wanting to sound ignorant or hurtful, just kind of keep to the sidelines. But it doesn’t take a degree in gender studies to be a trans ally (nor does it require you to have an LGBTQ friend).
Do you recognize that trans and non-binary people face danger and prejudice? Do you want to use your gender privilege to keep them safe? You’re halfway there. Now all you need is three minutes of education.
Cisgender (often abbreviated to cis) is a characteristic of people having a gender identity that matches the sex that they were assigned at birth [source: wiki]. If you’re a female who was born female, you’re cis. If you say things like “boys will be boys,” you’re probably cis.
Gender privilege is something you have if you’re cis. As with white privilege or male privilege, if this is something you have never thought about, chances are you’re in the privileged group. Gender privilege is feeling safe in a public restroom. Gender privilege is being able to express affection to your loved one without being afraid of judgment or assault.
Trans Women are women and Trans Men are men and they both need a place to go to the bathroom where they feel safe. If you have trouble remembering which is which, try adding the word “to” in your mind, for example: transitioned-to-women or transitioned-to-man [source: Evan Urquhart; see recommended reading].
Note: Don’t confuse gender with sexuality. Gender refers one’s personal gender identity (male, female, trans, non-binary). Sexuality describes who one is attracted to (gay, lesbian, straight, bi, asexual). A trans or non-binary person is not necessarily gay, just as a cis person is not necessarily hetero.
How to Become a Trans Ally
I urge you to go public with this commitment. Put an #IllGoWithYou badge on the sidebar of your blog or on social media profiles, or buy a button at IllGoWithYou.org.
“5 Ways You Can Be An Ally to the *Trans Community” by Kirstin Palovick
“Your Trolliest, Least Politically Correct Questions About Trans Identities, Answered” by Evan Urquhart
“When You’re Transgender, You Realize What Gender Privilege Looks Like” by Paris Lees