How to be an ally to the trans community

by Erica Anderson

At The New Savant, we celebrate individuality in every manifestation. Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV), gives us an opportunity to celebrate the lives of trans people, but perhaps even more, it is a moment to learn how to be an ally, which the trans community needs now more than ever. 

The reason is simple: in the past few years, more than 400 bills have been introduced to limit the LGBTQ community's participation in various levels of society – in particular, the trans community. Things I take for granted – using a public bathroom, playing on a team or being treated by a doctor, are being debated for a group of people. 

Does this sound familiar? You’d be right if you said yes. We have a history of limiting people’s participation in society - it wasn’t until 1965 that all Black folks could vote (1920 for some women), and it wasn’t until 1967 that interracial couples could marry. It took until 2015 for lesbian and gay couples to marry in all 50 states. 

As an ally of the trans community, I try to consume media that is written by, and informed by, trans voices. I’ve linked to a few of these below, and invite you to drop me a note if you have others to share. 

Most of all, I hope this short post reminds you that the work for trans rights is no different from the fights before. And as allies, we can start by getting ourselves up to speed – and then being open to using our voices in the moments, and places, it matters. 

Media by Trans Voices 

Queer Sports by VICE News’s Arielle Duhaime Ross. This episode we hear directly from trans athletes about the anti-trans backlash. It’s probably the best set of interviews I’ve seen on the subject. 

Disclosure on Netflix, starring Laverne Cox. This documentary looks at Hollywood’s history of stereotyping trans folks in film and TV. If you are like me and want to understand how we got here, it’s a meaningful watch.

Gender Magic by Rae McDaniel. This book is written by a non-binary, Chicago-based therapist. It offers a practical guide to embracing gender, and does so in a light, joyful and creative way. 

Resources for Allies 

Our Trans Loved Ones, by PFLAG. If you love someone who is transgender, and are not sure how to support them, this is the pamphlet for you. The Parent, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is in general, a helpful resource for allies. 

Tips for Allies of Transgender People, by GLAAD. All the questions you’ve had and maybe weren’t sure who to ask – the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) gives some info.

Until next time,