We had two really great discussions at the Evolve trans* youth group this month. First off, we talked about the things that friends, family, MAP staff and doctors could do to be really good allies for trans* people.
Here’s what the young people came up with:
- Good allies would stand up for you when other people are being unpleasant or abusive. We also talked about how just staying with you when abuse is occurring can be really powerful.
- Good allies would not ask intrusive questions about your identity, your genitals or any other aspects of your trans* experience
- They would be open and receptive and have a willingness to learn about how to understand trans* people’s lives
- They wouldn’t be judgmental
- Good allies would have a positive approach and would not be ashamed to be seen with you or be ashamed of people knowing you are trans*
- They wouldn’t treat you any different from how they did before you came out, except they would use the name, pronouns you prefer and would respect your identity
- They would ask how you would like to be treated e.g. What pronouns do you want to use?
- They wouldn’t make negative comments about your body or gender presentation e.g. your body looks weird, you should wear your hair a certain way etc.
- Good allies would be willing to challenge peoples negative attitudes and misconceptions
Our second discussion was about what trans*-friendly services should look like.
This is what we think:
- Gender neutral bathrooms are essential
- It can help if there is diversity within the staff, ideally someone from an LGBT background who can relate to the stress and anxiety of the coming out process
- Trans* friendly spaces should be accessible for ALL trans* people, which includes cultural sensitive services, wheelchair access etc
- Positive images of trans* people should be on show
- Trans* friendly spaces should deliver on their promises of being trans* friendly and should always consult trans* people themselves on how to do this
- Any forms that needed to be filled out should be inclusive, not just male and female tick boxes
- The service should have workers that respect trans* identities, who do not just stick to the binary model
- Trans* friendly services should have a sense of humour!
- An awareness of confidentiality
- Safe spaces to change clothes etc.