TIP ONE: USE CORRECT PRONOUNS
Use the right pronouns. These are required pronouns. They are survival. If you make a mistake, apologize and correct yourself. If you don’t know someone’s pronouns or are unsure, kindly ask “What pronouns honor you?” or “I use she/her, what pronouns do you use?” Asking someone for their pronouns and stating yours lets trans people know you are aware enough about the community, and they are safe with you.
TIP TWO: UNDERSTAND SEXUALITY
Don’t assume a trans person’s sexuality. Know that gender identity and sexuality are two different things. While they do intersect, they do not determine each other. A trans person can be any sexuality. Avoid saying things like, “why’d you transition to a guy just to be gay? Wouldn’t it have been easier to just be straight?”
TIP THREE: SUPPORT
Be an open ear, a great listener, a shoulder to cry on, and someone to lean on. Trans people go through a lot. Sometimes we need to vent, sometimes we need validation from our friends, sometimes we just need someone to be there for us. Be that person. Check in on your trans friends. Stay connected. Stay supportive. Be open-minded.
TIP FOUR: EDUCATE YOURSELF
Learn about the trans experience from other sources such as YouTube videos, queer culture sites, and personal blogs from trans people. Your trans friend might not want to be interviewed about their trans experience all the time. Questions might be cool with your friend, but ask them first if they are feeling up to talking about it before asking questions. Be aware of the space you are asking questions in. Many trans people do not want to be outted as this may make them feel unsafe or put them in unsafe situations.
TIP FIVE: CHOSEN NAMES
Call your trans friend by their name. Do not ask for their birth name or “real name.” Dead-naming a trans person can result in discomfort and gender dysphoria. We want you to know us for who we truly are. Our chosen names and pronouns are part of our identity. For many trans people, hearing them can be gender-euphoric. The names we choose for ourselves are our real names.
TIP SIX: DON’T OUT SOMEONE
Don’t out your friend! It can be very unsafe and cause harm. Ask your friend if it’s okay for you to tell someone they are trans before you decide to tell another person. Disclosure is up to the individual, not you. Some people are out, some people are stealth, some people stay stealth for safety reasons or personal reasons. Please respect their decision. Don’t out your friends.
TIP SEVEN: SPEAK OUT
If you hear offensive language or ignorant comments in public spaces or online, if it’s safe, please speak up and educate that individual/group. Report comments. Report social media profiles that are spreading transphobic rhetoric. We need more voices to amplify our existence to help bring us towards equality. When there are transphobic bills in your state, call your representatives, join in on marches, protests, rallies. Show up! Silence = violence.
TIP EIGHT: CREATE SAFETY
Many trans people experience fear of public restrooms and may have experienced verbal/physical violence in those spaces. You can ask your friend if they’d like you to come in with them or watch the door. Outside of bathrooms, please also be aware. Trans hate is on the rise right now. Take the extra few minutes to walk your friend to their car. Be extra cautious.
TIP NINE: AVOID ASKING UNWANTED Q’S
Avoid asking questions about surgery, hormones, medical info, and questions about a trans person’s sex life. This can come off as invasive, insensitive, and may spark gender dysphoria. If a trans person wants to talk about it with you, they probably will. Don’t force it. Let it be on their time and their terms.
Created by Ryan Cassata