November 13 th is World Kindness Day, November 13 th through the 19th is celebrated as Transgender Awareness Week, and all of November is Transgender Awareness Month. We believe these celebrations happening at the same time is no coincidence. At Lotus Psychology Group, our therapists believe firmly in the importance of being advocates and allies to the transgender community, and we know that, with a little more kindness, the world can be a safer, healthier place for our transgender friends and neighbors. In this bog, we explore the importance of gaining awareness about and understanding of the transgender community in order to become better allies.
Health & Safety in the Transgender Community
The statistics on crimes against members of the transgender community nationwide are staggering. Abuse, assault, murder, every crime you can imagine is reported in high numbers against transgender people, and in many cases, the perpetrators use the fact that the victim is transgender as their defense. Hatred and ignorance combine to make this world less safe for transgender people every day. This lack of safety, the effects of feeling not seen for who you are, or the way your body doesn’t feel natural or comfortable, can all leave transgender individuals feeling anxious, depressed, and angry. In addition to these emotional health concerns, transgender individuals also have to deal with the mental effects of looking in the mirror and not seeing the person they know themselves to be. They have to interact with people who don’t recognize who they are, and they have to make decisions about how they want to alter the body they’re living in to look more like they body that fits their self-image. With all that they have to overcome, it will likely come as no surprise that there are very high rates of suicidal ideation within the transgender community.
Tips for Showing Support & Kindness
It should be clear by this point that transgender people walk a challenging road, but the more we show support and love for these people, the safer the world becomes for them. Below are some ways you can show your support and kindness for people within the transgender community to make them feel safe, seen, and included:
Don’t assume pronouns – always ask for pronouns and offer your own. Being misgendered can be very painful for transgendered people, so it’s important to provide
them with an opportunity to tell you who they are.
No one owes you an explanation of themselves – you can show genuine interest in a transgender person and their journey but be polite and take care in asking questions that may be difficult or painful for a transgender person to answer.
Don’t use their dead name – if you’ve known a person before they transition, and they feel safe enough to keep you in their lives after, take care not to use their dead name after they choose one that fits who they are. If you know a person only after they transition, don’t ask for their dead name.
Don’t make sexist remarks – telling someone they look like a “real” man or “real” woman or giving them recommendations for how they could look more masculine or feminine is always inappropriate.
Provide a safe space – make sure you do your utmost to keep your transgender friends and loved ones safe. Accompany them to the restroom. Speak up if someone treats them poorly. Don’t allow others to misgender them. In short, do everything you can to be a good ally.
Interested in Talking to a Professional?
If you’re transgendered or an ally who needs support to work through stress or you just want a safe and welcoming space to share your thoughts, the Lotus Psychology Group would love to hear from you. If you’re interested in working with us, please don’t hesitate to call us at (248) 957-8973, email info@ lotuspsychgroup.com, or fill out our contact form.