How to be an ally and support the transgender members of our communities.
This may come as a surprise to some—but I love being trans. I don’t think I need to tell anybody that it’s hard to be trans, or that it’s especially hard right now. This year, 586 anti-trans bills have been proposed by legislators in 49 states. It’s not a stretch to predict it will only get worse.
Every year we have growing numbers of sisters, brothers and siblings to mourn—taken from us by acts of violence or death by suicide. We disproportionally grieve trans women and trans feminine people during the Trans Day of Remembrance.
Int the last year, 320 trans people were killed between October 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023. These are the dates the Trans Murder Monitoring report tracks year to year. This report reflects a 15% increase from the previous year. 94% of those killed were trans feminine and 80% were black.
Support Networks Save Lives
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the number of older trans people I know. My elders. I’ve realized that many teenage trans youth see me as an elder. I’m almost thirty-five, but I know I didn’t think I would live this long.
The Trevor Project reports that at least one accepting adult reduces the risk of a suicide attempt in LGBTQ+ youth of all varieties by 40 percent. Some of the most important preventative measures to address trans violence intersect with homelessness and poverty. The Human Rights Campaign calls for lawmakers to address these issues directly as a method to address trans violence.
What We Can Do
People ask me a lot how to support the trans people in their lives who come out. There are a few easy answers, but most are complicated.
Here are a few things you can do on an interpersonal level:
- Ask your friends and family what they would like to be called and referred to.
- Ask if they want you to correct people when they get their name or pronouns wrong.
- Check in later to see if those loved ones change their minds when they feel more supported.
There are also some things you can do to help change our systems:
- Support bills that address homelessness and poverty, because trans people, especially our trans sisters, are more vulnerable to these problems.
- Call your state legislators, write them letters, or find any way to reach out—and tell them you support trans rights. Most of them want to hear from you, I promise. The ones who don’t deserve to hear from you even more.
There are people who would tell you that we are a danger to children. Many of us are children now and we knew we were trans long before we ever met any other trans person.
There are people who would tell you that we are a danger to women. Many of us are women and are four times more likely to experience violent victimization, as reported by the UCLA School of Law.
We are in danger. Protect trans youth. Support your trans friends, family, coworkers and community members. Do it openly and proudly. We need these efforts—and supporting trans people in public is a radical act.
I’m proud to be trans. I’m proud to be open. Our lives are a beautiful piece of the human experience.
We reflect on ourselves and craft our lives in ways that are both different from—and the same as—how cisgender people do. Life would not be as rich without us.
On Transgender Day of Remembrance, add your voices to our calls for help and support. Be loud because we need to know where our allies are right now, more than ever. Those who are against our rights—and our very lives—need to hear it too.
Do you have any trans loved ones in your life? How do you support them? Add your ideas so we can learn from each other.