Being Vocally Supportive

published on Oct 22, 2019


As a trans ally, you may feel the urge to greet transgender people and let them know you support them. Don't.

When you meet someone you believe is a transgender person, please do not bring it up in conversation with them, EVEN IF YOU WANT TO SAY SOMETHING SUPPORTIVE.

Here are actual comments said to me by well-meaning strangers or new-acquaintances: "You're so brave..." and "I have a friend/relative/co-worker who is transgender" and "Thank you for coming as your authentic self" and "I really appreciate you being a role model of others who might be questioning their identity."

Instead of being supportive, comments like these will most likely have the opposite effect, because what the trans person hears is "I recognize you as being something OTHER than what you present yourself to be."

Being "other" feels exclusive. The best approach is to treat the person as you would anyone else. Going out in the world as a newly transitioning transgender person is hard, knowing that we stand out. The best support is when we can just feel like everyone else.

N.B., when someone you already know comes out and starts transitioning, words of encouragement are appreciated. This PSA is people you didn't know before transition.

Thank you for listening.

Trans Allies
being other

Commentary from the multiverseConsume at your own peril

Abigail Head

Improv nerd, geek girl. She/her.

Theater owner, actor & improviser, writer, filmmaker, minor league humorist, and generally-opinionated scuttlebug.

Lover of the em dash, proponent of the serial comma, and staunch defender of "literally" literally meaning "in the literal sense". 

More Essays

Regular insights on creativity and the creative process.