Earlier this year, Immanuel welcomed Sara from Equality Virginia‘s Transgender Advocacy Speakers
Bureau. Sara shared her story and led a conversation on how best to be allies to our transgender neighbors. Below, our friends at Equality Virginia offer other tips on becoming a better ally and friend to people of all gender identities and expressions. Pictured right, Pastor Katie, back left, and other Immanuel members smile with Sara, back right, following her presentation. Click here to learn more about Immanuel’s educational programs and opportunities.
Ally Beginner Tips
- Being an ally to a trans* person means honoring all parts of their identity, including their race, class, ethnicity, ability status, etc.
- Mistakes will happen, and that’s okay. Mistakes are learning opportunities for improvement. Listen to how transgender people refer to themselves and be sure to use that name or gender pronoun (he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs, etc.) If you aren’t sure of someone’s pronouns, offer your own and simply ask! Be sure not to guess, as you wouldn’t blindly guess a stranger’s name. Here’s an example: My name is Rae, I use he/him pronouns, what are yours?
- If you incorrectly use a name or pronoun, apologize, and continue the conversation. No need to make it a big deal or offer a long apology. Simply apologize, correct the mistake, and make a mental note of the person’s correct pronouns.
- You cannot tell someone is transgender simply by looking at them. It’s good to try and be considerate if you notice someone’s gender expression is not aligned with typical gender norms, but it is impossible to simply “look” and confirm if somebody is transgender.
- Continue to educate yourself. Like any other community, transgender cultural humility cannot be learned in a day, or even a semester’s worth of classes. Society continues to adapt and evolve, including the transgender society. Seek out trusted resources and gather information on your own. Check out the resources listed at the end of this page!