What is transgender?
Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identification deviates from the traditional binary gender system. Many trans people recognize the limitations of a two gender system where gender & gender roles are said to be biologically determined & based on genitalia alone.
We rebel against this socially enforced institutionalized gender system by creating our own definitions of what it means to man, woman, or something else entirely.
TRANS PEOPLE come in many different varieties and may have very individualized identifications. Some transpeople may take hormones or make other physical modifications to “transition” into a more comfortable body, while others may change their name and or pronouns, use both male and female pronouns, go by ze and hir, or simply identify as trans without changing a damn thing.
Transgender is not a code word for gay, lesbian or queer. Gender identification and sexual orientation are not the same! Transpeople’s sexualities are as diverse as the rest of the world.
As radical people, breaking down gender should be a part of our revolution.
Things we can do to be trans-positive allies
ASK respectful questions.
-How do you identify?
BEGIN to look at and break down gender in your life beyond male and female norms.
QUESTION the assumption of what is natural and who it benefits.
THINK about everyday things you do that may be an uncomfortable situation for a trans person.
Using a public bathroom…?
-Think about PRIVILEGE
HAVE open discussions with people about gender but remember - Speak from your own experience!
RECOGNIZE and take on transphobia in yourself and the gay lesbian queer communities.
BE sure to always use preferred names and pronouns and if by chance you mess up, accept full responsibility without making excuses!
How to create trans-positive spaces
Have resources for and about trans people.
Don’t assume that your space being queer, women’s, radical, anarchist etc. are trans inclusive.
Invite trans speakers, performers, artists etc. to your space to be a part of regular community activities but don’t tokenize or put the burden on them to educate or inform you. Take the initiative to become educated and to educate, don’t wait for it to be an issue.
Consider how intersecting oppression including racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and ableism can affect gender and sexuality issues.
For more info
My Gender Workbook
both by Kate Bornstein
Read My Lips
by Rikki Anne Wilchins
The Last Time I Wore a Dress
by Daphne Scholinski
both by Leslie Feinberg
by Loren Cameron