How to be a Great Ally

Welcome to the Ingersoll Gender Center ally page. Maybe you stumbled upon this page while searching for additional information about transgender issues. Perhaps you’re a parent, sibling or friend of a transgender or gender non-conforming person. Or maybe you came here after you received one of our pronoun/information cards from someone.

Whatever the reason may be, we are happy that you decided to visit.

Being an ally

Transgender and gender non-confirming people face many issues in our society.  According to a comprehensive survey of the transgender community.  65% of transgender people have faced serious acts of discrimination at home, school, our jobs, or in public (check out the National Transgender Discrimination Survey for more information).  As a result of this discrimination many transgender people experience homelessness, unemployment, and are at increased risk for self harm.

Being an ally does not necessarily mean you have to fix these issues all by yourself! However ,even a small amount of effort can improve the lives of those you interact with. Here are a few ideas of how you can start being an ally:

  • Always refer to someone by their preferred name and pronouns. Avoid using gender-specific pronouns if you’re unsure how to address someone, for example by using “folks”, “they”, or “you.” It is appropriate to respectfully (and privately) ask someone their pronoun preference.  You can model by saying “hey, just so you know, I use ‘she, her” pronouns.  What do you use?”
  • Don’t ask intrusive questions, or quiz someone about their life. It’s not okay to ask someone about their genitals (the same way you wouldn’t ask anyone else!) or about surgeries related to transitioning. Similarly, don’t ask to see pictures or ask what someone’s name was from before their transition.
  • Public restrooms can result in incredibly stressful situations for transgender people. If you manage one, try including at least one gender-neutral (“family”) or single-occupancy restroom. Separately, if you happen to find yourself in the same restroom as a transgender person, don’t freak out, make jokes, or rude comments -- we’re all just trying to do our business in peace!
  • Keep any personal information a transgender person shares with you personal.  Do not disclose an individual’s status as a transgender person without their permission. They’re confiding in you and a bit of trust and respect will go a long way.
  • Don’t assume anything.  Being transgender doesn’t determine anything about who someone is attracted to, what they think about their bodies or what experiences they have had..  All transgender people have unique histories and personalities and deserve to be respected as the individuals they are!
  • Want to go to the next level?  Come to an Ingersoll support group, or contact us about how you can be an ally in your school or work place!

Resources

Ingersoll Gender Center is one of many resources online to learn more about transgender issues. For even more information, take a peek at one of the following websites!

© 2016 Ingersoll Gender Center  All Rights Reserved
Mailing Address: 1425 Broadway #509  Seattle, WA 98122  
Physical Address:  517 E Pike Street, lower floor Seattle, WA 98122
Email:  info@ingersollgendercenter.org
Office:  206-849-7859