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How to be a Trans Ally

empowerment lgbtqia+ queer trans Nov 15, 2022

I identify as a lesbian and my gender expression is bi-gender, which means 'both', or the 'all of it.' I have a physical body that's female and an energetic body that is male. I married a lesbian who is now non-binary trans-masc. I'm here to talk about my top five tips for how to be an ally this week in Trans Awareness Week.

#1 Know the difference between sex and gender.

We are assigned a certain male or female or intersex when we're born, and gender is a constructed idea about what a 'man' looks like; what a 'woman' looks like. And I don't simply mean in appearance. I mean, if you were a fly on the wall, observing a 'man', how does he behave, how does he move, think, be, operate and express himself? And what are the expectations of how 'man' or 'woman' should behave? What agreements are in place about this in society?

We're born into this binary world, in particular in predominantly white culture. You can find examples of many other models of genders in many other cultures. My first tip is to understand that there's a difference between sex and gender.

#2 Gender is not something to be afraid of, it's something to play with

Secondly, understanding that gender is not something to be afraid of. It is something to play with. What's the first thing someone says when a baby is born? "It's a [fill in the blank]... " This conversation is made up; it's socially constructed. It's a conversation made up by other humans, most of whom are dead now.

I've had people chat live during one of my #dancebreak videos, discussing whether I'm a boy or a girl and then making fear-based comments because they couldn't work it out. What if knowing or placing someone else's gender in a box you already understand was not so important - and certainly not so important that it was something to be afraid of if you couldn't work it out?

Maybe if gender wasn't seen as something that is static or that you're stuck with, just because you were assigned it at birth, then it could be seen as an exploration. And dare I say, even fun.

#3 No one else gets to say what someone's gender expression is. Only they do.

Give up the notion that you have any say at all over somebody else's gender journey or their gender expression. That's for them to discover.

#4 Examine the gender binary you've inherited and how it constrains you.

Tip number four is to examine the binary of 'man' and 'woman' that you inherited in this world, and examine how that may have constrained you. How has it constrained you to have to live as 'man' and what that means, or 'woman' and what that means? Where does that show up in your day-to-day life?

#5 Someone else's gender is not a personal threat to you.

When someone else's gender is not a threat to you, then things like committing to getting someone's pronouns right, just like you would commit to getting their name right, or getting that someone who was assigned male at birth and is now trans femme, walking into the women's toilets, is just as 'not-man' as you are, and has most likely lived their life being 'not-man', and never fully belonging as 'man', and that her existence is not actually a threat to you.

By the way, if someone is behaving in a threatening way in a public toilet towards you, that has nothing to do with their gender and is simply unacceptable behaviour.

And finally, as a bonus, what if your capacity to allow someone else's self-expression is directly correlated to how self-expressed you can be? In other words, if you can't allow others to be expressed around you, then you will be constrained in your capacity to express and be yourself. So your job is to be yourself because everybody else has taken and allow others to be themselves because that's their job.



P.S. If you like this conversation and you want to discover how to be empowered through the body as someone who is LGBTQIA+ (or an ally!), click here to set up a complimentary call. 

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