Each year, hundreds of transgender people are murdered and commit suicide. According to the National Transgender Center for Equality, 47% of transgender people have attempted suicide at some point in their life. Since 0.3% of the world’s population is transgender, this statistic is astounding. Motivations for a transgender person to commit suicide include being refused basic medical treatment, being harassed at work, getting evicted or kicked out of their homes, being a victim of violence by a family member, and not being as close to their family as they were before they came out. What do all of these motivations have in common? They are brought on by the mistreatment of other people and society. While Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance to commemorate the lives that were lost through acts of hate, it is also important to learn how to be a better transgender ally.
First off, educate yourself. It is perfectly understandable that you might not know about a certain transgender topic or issue, but confronting a transgender person about it could cause the person unwanted anxiety. There are many valuable resources available online where a person can learn about past, current, and on-going transgender issues around the world. Information can be accessed at the touch of a fingertip thanks to Google. With that being said, if a person comes to you as a trusted ally to seek out information and you don’t know the answer, don’t pretend like you do and make up an answer. This is an opportunity for you to expand your knowledge and become an even better ally to the community. You can offer to work together to come up with a solution to the question and bring about a sense of community. When you expand your knowledge, you have just made yourself a better ally.
Pronouns are one of the main components of a transgender person’s concerns. To the individual, being called their preferred gender pronoun is something that is self-validating. If you’re not sure what a person’s preferred gender pronouns are, just ask. Pronouns aren’t black and white. They can range from the binary, he/him/his-she/her/hers to the non-binary, they/them/theirs-ze/hir/zir. “It” is never an acceptable pronoun to call someone, even if you don’t know what they prefer