Transgender people in this country are in the fight of their lives. This is no exaggeration.
Between fighting for safe spaces in schools, pushing back against hurtful bathroom bills, railing against bigoted local policies disguised as religious freedom, service members being pushed back into the closet, and the constant threat of harassment, sexual assault, and violence, transgender people are truly fighting for their lives.
Now more than ever, we need to stand with transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Here are 21 ways to do just that.
1. Use preferred pronouns and names.
It's not difficult and it shows that you respect and acknowledge someone's identity. If you're not sure which pronouns someone uses, ask.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.
2. Need a new book or podcast? Support transgender creatives.
Books, essays, articles, or podcasts are an easy, affordable place to start. This is not only a way to hear rich first-person accounts of some of the issues affecting the transgender community, but buying books or downloading podcasts is a great way to support trans creators financially.
Here's an awesome list of transgender authors by genre to get you started.
3. It's time to start calling people out. Stand up — even when it's hard.
Don't let your friends or family get away cruel "jokes" or snide remarks. It's not always easy, but being an ally isn't a spectator sport. A simple, "That's not OK" in conversation can remind people that words have consequences.
4. Put your money where your heart is and support organizations showing up for trans people.
If you have any extra money, consider donating it to groups like TransLifeline or the Trevor Project. These organizations are on the front lines supporting transgender youth and adults in crisis. If money is tight, consider saving up or donating your next birthday to the effort.
Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.
5. Follow, read, and share transgender voices on social media.
6. Back Sam, the first educational transgender toy, on Kickstarter.
This sweet toy helps kids explore what it means to grow up transgender. It's great for all kids, not just kids who might be exploring different aspects of their gender identity. Watch this sweet video introducing Sam to the world.
Meet Sam, the inspiration behind the world's first educational transgender toy. Watch Sam's Story then support our mission to stop transphobia before it starts by pledging on our Kickstarter: http://theyouinsideproject.comPosted by Enfants transgenres Canada/ Gender Creative Kids Canada on Wednesday, June 14, 2017
7. Trans women of color are being murdered at an alarming rate. They need your support more than ever.
If you don't know about this epidemic, here are the facts. In 2016, at least 22 transgender people died as a result of violence. In 2017, 15 have already been killed by violent means.
Ask your city council, police department, and everyone running for local office what they plan to do to prevent these tragedies. Don't accept non-answers. Lives are at stake.
8. With that in mind, speak out against the gay and trans panic defense.
In 48 states, alleged murderers can defend their actions in court by suggesting the victim's sexual or gender identity triggered their crime. California and Illinois are the only states that have banned this defense. Talk to your state legislators to find out what you can do to advance legislation banning this defense in your state.
9. Volunteer to help transgender-supportive candidates, in your area or nationally.
Bigoted policies don't reach the governor or the president's desk in a vacuum — bigoted people put them there. Help candidates who stand with transgender people get elected or keep their seats.
People arrive to hear Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff speak during a rally to thank volunteers and supporters. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.
10. Make sure the places you frequent are inclusive.
Check out the policies or bylaws at your workplace, gym, or community center to make sure they're welcoming and inclusive of transgender and gender-nonconforming people. If not, talk to the powers that be about how to create or improve the nondiscrimination policy.
11. Get out in the community and volunteer.
Use the United Way's search tool to find opportunities supporting the LGTBQ community in your area.
Volunteers man the phones at the Trevor Project Call Center in West Hollywood. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.
12. Too busy to volunteer? Support the helpers.
You may not have the time to commit to a weekly or monthly volunteer opportunity, but consider dropping off bagels, coffee, or a thoughtful card to those who do. Drop off the goodies at your local crisis center or LGBTQ community space.
13. Attend LGBTQ events, rallies, and activities.
This doesn't mean co-opt safe LGBTQ safe spaces as your own, but instead, attend Pride and Trans Day of Remembrance events as an ally. Look in your community calendar for LGBTQ film festivals, gallery exhibitions, comedy shows, or demonstrations to attend.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.
14. Fund a day of self-care for a transgender person.
Being constantly attacked and scrutinized by your own government is exhausting and a little self-care can go a long way. Awesome folks online are bringing allies together to fund nights out at the movies, co-pays for therapists, or just encouraging notes. Support their effort or donate directly to a friend in need.
15. Reach out to the transgender people you know.
A kind word, phone call, or simple text can mean a lot. Let them know you stand with them today and always.
16. Listen, watch, and share stories from transgender people and their families.
There are so many great first-hand accounts that deserve to be heard, like this story of a dad speaking up for his trans son, this Republican, Christian mom staring down bigots to stand up for her daughter, or this story of a woman's coworkers surprising her with a party after her transition. These stories need to be heard.
17. Support trans troops and veterans.
Trans people have served this country proudly in every branch of the armed forces. When policies and declarations attempt to push them back into the closet, call your senator and representative to make sure they're standing on the side of equality. Consider supporting the Transgender American Veterans Association too.
18. Reconsider how you use gendered language.
While some trans people have no problem being referred to by gender-specific phrases like "ladies and gentlemen," inclusive language is just as welcoming and leaves no one out. Just recently, the transportation system in London abandoned "Ladies and Gentlemen" in announcements because "Hello, everyone" works just as well.
Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.
19. Model how to stand and support trans people for the kids in your life.
Kids are always watching. Let your kids, or the kids in your life, know that you stand up for transgender and gender-nonconforming people, including them. Encourage the kids in your life to stand up for their friends and do what's right, even when it's hard.
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.
20. Look up where the companies you love fall on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.
Sure they make great burgers or T-shirts, but does your favorite brand treat its LGBTQ employees fairly? Do they buy goods and contract services from LGBTQ suppliers? If not, consider adjusting your loyalty.
If you're sick and tired of the mistreatment of transgender people and other traditionally underrepresented groups by their own government, then remember to do your research and vote. Every election — every time.
Now, more than ever, transgender people need our support.
Stand with them, signal boost their voices and stories, and let your elected officials know that discrimination will not be tolerated. Transgender people are fighting for their lives. It's time for some backup.
Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.