Trans Ally support

Over the recent few years trans issues have become much more frequent in the media and as is well known this has provoked a polarisation of attitudes. It is great that more and more people (cis people) are beginning to stand up and describe themselves as Trans Allies. Sadly transphobia is still prevalent

One of the problems of being a cis Trans Ally is that unless they are very close to a trans person and they have seen by shared experience what being Trans is like it is essential that they research and educate themselves and if possible listen to people who are trans before they try and explain what being trans is about and before they tell trans people about trans issues.

Quite simply put every trans persons journey and their issues are different, so it is essential to listen when supporting a trans person. Many struggle and support is wonderful to have and can be life changing. In my case, I doubt I would have had enough faith to ever fully transition without the validation of a cis couple who actually got it and did listen. Those that listen have to be aware that with all of their knowledge and experience there are always limitations as they have not experienced transition. In some ways I would suggest it is no different from say someone who is supporting a person who has experienced abuse. It does not matter how supportive or empathetic you are unless you have experience of abuse you have not experienced it. So the key in any of these situations is to listen. Always listen.

Of course to gain understanding it is important while listening to ask questions and not to be frightened of asking them.  However, it is important to ask questions with care and respecting the trans persons dignity. It could be appropriate just to say “I am not familiar with this I have not come across it before are you able to help me understand?” If that person does not want to answer questions then that too is their choice which should be respected. In my experience most trans people are willing to discuss their trans issues if they are approached properly. You will appreciate when the very first question is “Had the op yet?” or some such similar question, which they would never ask a cis person, that that is just disrespectful and does not respect their privacy. That question, or something along the same lines, I would say I have been asked more often than not in the first three minutes of meeting someone and they are aware I am a transwoman. 

Another area which is worth considering is that it can be difficult for a trans person to be involved in taking part in a general philosophical debate on trans issues with cis people Their life is not a debating issue it is their life, full of emotion which they are living. It is not something to be debated about as to whether a trans identity is even valid or even whether trans people are entitled to exist.

So it is indeed wonderful to have support. To any Trans Ally I would simply say listen and be respectful.

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