How to be a trans ally
If you’ve been anywhere near the internet this week, you’ll have noticed that journalist Suzanne Moore flounced off Twitter after making an ass of herself by not apologising for something. We all say the wrong thing from time to time – accidentally selecting offensive words instead of inoffensive ones – but I like to think that most people would apologise if/when this is pointed out to them. For those of you playing catch-up, I’d recommend reading what stavvers’ had to say about the whole sorry affair.
Today, The Observer has embarrassed itself by publishing a piece from Julie Burchill that is so hateful that I’m not even going to give them additional pageviews by linking to it. If you’re interested in how this “champagne and lobster socialist” has managed to defend her mate whilst offending every trans person and ally on the planet, Helen from Bird of Paradox has created a handy pdf version. Of course, some people might read that and have no idea what all the fuss is about. If this is you (or someone you know), I’ve found a few links that might help explain.
- Grace’s Trans 101: An Introduction to Transsexuality and Some Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
- GenderBen: Trans 101, but not as you know it
- Trans Respect/Etiquette/Support 101
- TRANSWHAT? Guide to Allyship
- AberPride Trans FAQ
- LCFD Trans Ally 101
- Trans FAQ for Script Writers
- A Transgender Journey by Juliet Jacques
- How to be a better ally to trans folks in four steps
If anyone else knows of any other good resources, please let me know in the comments. As you might imagine, not everyone knows someone who is trans. Many people aren’t aware of what’s wrong with the few words they know to describe trans people. That doesn’t mean they’re transphobic (although they may accidentally say transphobic things), just that they need to learn why what they’re saying is wrong. Education is key. Well, that and… if you do get it wrong, politely apologise and then learn from your mistake.
UPDATE: I have added some more useful links to the list, and have also spotted that The New Statesman is running a series called Trans Issue Week, which could be a helpful resource.