The LGBT+ Society tells us what it means to be trans and how to support your trans peers #TransDoR


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Every trans person has a different experience with their gender. Some have known they were a different gender since childhood, some may only discover their true selves in their 60s. Some will pursue hormone therapy and gender-confirming surgeries through their teenage or adult years, some have no desire to alter their bodies whatsoever. Some of us experience our genders in a binary manner as trans men and women, others may experience any combination of gender — or a lack of gender altogether. We might enjoy typically masculine, feminine, or androgynous fashion and hairstyles, and presenting this way doesn’t negate our identity if it doesn’t align with stereotypes. In short, we fit into no cookie-cutter mould. We follow nobody’s rigid expectations of sex and gender, and through our unique experiences, we are united in our community as allies and protectors of one another.


 

How can you help trans people?

 

We suffer many misconceptions about us in society, which go on to damage the way we are perceived and treated by others. You can show respect for your trans friends and colleagues easily by using their pronouns and chosen name — and correcting others who misgender them when they aren’t around — although only do this if they have told you they wish to be ‘out’ publicly. If you are in a safe situation to do so, challenge your friends and family’s negative views of trans people, and encourage them to work through their prejudices regarding gender presentation. Don’t stand for transphobic language in your circles, even if phrased as a joke. Remember, you never know which of your friends could be trans – many of us hide our true identities for many years until we feel secure enough to tell others, and without a welcoming environment this can take even longer.

 

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On top of verbal abuse and oppressive legislation, we are also at a high risk of violence, both domestic and sporadic attacks. Trans women and transfeminine non-binary people are the most at risk of this, and this risk is increased for women of colour — these members of our community desperately need solidarity and support. If you can, you could offer to walk your trans friends home at night if you’re out together, and ask if they would be more comfortable if you came to public bathrooms with them: these are things that can help us feel supported and safe in a society that can be dangerous. A sobering statistic is that 350 trans people have been murdered in 2020 alone, innocent lives that were taken away by transphobic hatred. While we mourn the dead, we must remember to uplift, protect, and campaign for the living.

Our community is vibrant, diverse, and resilient. We are more than our oppression — being trans is a source of joy. The process of recognising your true gender, expressing yourself the way you are most comfortable with and hearing your chosen name and pronouns from others is indescribably exciting. Celebrate trans happiness and success not just during Pride Month or Trans Week of Awareness, but all year round.


 

   I think the statement above says things rather elegantly. Though we should all work towards understanding, it is my belief that the first step is respect. If you don't understand somebody's identity, respect that they know themselves better than anybody else. When I was much younger and just learning about binary and non-binary trans identities, my road to understanding began by respecting that people knew what they were talking about.

GLAAD has a lot of amazing resources that you can access for understanding trans and non-binary people: glaad.org/transgender/resources. They also have a page specifically for Transgender Day of Remembrance for you to learn more about what you can do: glaad.org/tdor.

Hearing this news, especially as a trans person (speaking from my own experience here), can be, as said above, a very sobering experience. If you need help finding support, please e-mail equality@plymouth.ac.uk . You are not alone.   

- Jonah Zalick, Part Time Trans and Nonbinary Officer, Pronouns: he/him


 

Learn more about transgender people and history

 

In spite of the tremendous challenges that come with living in a culture that does not treat transgender people equally, transgender people have made and are making significant contributions to society. Watch HBO's The Trans List to find out about some strong transgender advocates.

For a look at the history of transgender people in America, check out Transgender History by Susan Stryker and the GLAAD Media Award-winning films by Rhys Ernst We've Been Around and This is Me.


Find out the answers to your questions on GLAADs Transgender FAQ Page   FAQ Page


 

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