March 31st marks the observance of the International Transgender Day of Visibility, which is held annually to celebrate the lives of transgender and non-binary individuals across the world. The significance of visibility lies in its ability to alter societal attitudes, helping to combat the stigma surrounding transgender identities and broaden people's perspectives. It also seeks to raise awareness about the discrimination and violence that many transgender and non-binary people, particularly trans women of color and Black trans women, continue to face.
Despite facing persistent attacks, transgender and non-binary individuals have become increasingly visible in recent times. We take pride in acknowledging International Transgender Day of Visibility and recognizing the bravery it takes for transgender and non-binary individuals to live their lives openly and authentically. Transgender individuals are an integral part of our lives, including as our friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. They simply want to be able to live their lives as their true selves, just like everyone else. However, even as we celebrate this day, we must acknowledge that there are still many trans and non-binary individuals who are unable to safely live their lives fully, and who face discrimination and violence for living openly. Therefore, we must continue to stand up for a world where all transgender and non-binary individuals are able to live their lives free from discrimination and with complete authenticity.
How To Be A Trans Ally
When you become an ally of transgender people, your actions will help end the hate and change the culture, making society a better, safer place for transgender people and for all people (trans or not) who do not conform to conventional gender expectations.
1. Understand that you can't tell if someone is transgender just by looking.
Transgender people come from all different backgrounds and don't look any particular way. It's not possible to "see" if someone is transgender just by looking at them.
2. Don't make assumptions about a transgender person's sexual orientation.
Gender identity and sexual orientation are two different things. Gender identity is about how we personally identify ourselves, while sexual orientation is about who we are attracted to. Transgender people can identify as gay, straight, bisexual, or any other sexual orientation.
3. Use the correct pronouns.
If you're not sure which pronouns a person uses, listen to what others say when referring to them. If you must ask, be respectful and use your own pronouns as an example. If you accidentally use the wrong pronoun, apologize quickly and sincerely, then move on. Making a big deal out of the situation will only make things more uncomfortable for everyone.
Most trans women will use female pronouns (she/her) and most trans men will use male pronouns (he/him). Most non-binary people use gender neutral pronouns (they/them) in the singular sense. Many non-binary people take he/him and/or she/her pronouns as well. By far the most common set of gender-neutral pronouns is they/them.
4. Respect a transgender person's chosen name.
For many transgender individuals, being associated with their birth name can be a source of anxiety or distress. It's important to respect the name a transgender person is currently using, and not to share their birth name without their explicit permission.
5. Respect the terminology a transgender person uses to describe themselves.
There are many different terms that transgender people use to describe their experiences. It's important to respect the term a person uses to describe themselves and not to tell them which term you think they should use.
6. Be patient with a person who is questioning their gender identity.
It's important to be patient with someone who is questioning or exploring their gender identity. They may take some time to figure out what's true for them, and it's important to be respectful and use the name and pronoun they have requested.
7. Understand that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to transition.
Transitioning can mean different things for different people. Some transgender individuals may choose to undergo medical procedures such as hormone therapy or surgery, while others may not. A person's gender identity is not dependent on medical procedures or physical appearance.
8. Don't ask about a transgender person's genitals or surgical status.
It is never appropriate to ask a transgender person about their genitals, surgical status, or sex life. These questions can be invasive and hurtful, and it's important to treat transgender individuals with the same respect and dignity that you would want for yourself.
9. Avoid backhanded compliments and "helpful" tips.
Comments like "You look just like a real woman" or "Have you considered a voice coach?" can be hurtful and insulting. It's important to avoid backhanded compliments and "helpful" tips, as they can be dismissive of a transgender person's identity and experiences.
Being a trans ally means taking action to support and stand up for the rights of transgender individuals. By understanding the issues facing the transgender community and taking steps to promote a more accepting and inclusive society, we can help end the hate and discrimination that transgender individuals face. Remember to listen, respect, and support the transgender people in your life.
Kick off National Culture Week With Us
Are you a part of our #SeeMe campaign yet? It’s all about knowing that kids and teens have a million differences, but always have one thing in common… They are ALL PEOPLE! Kids come from different cultures, practice different religions and have different skin colors. Some wear brightly colored hair, have tattoos and multiple piercings. Some dress conservatively and some dash out the door wearing whatever is clean enough. Some teens are in same sex relationships and some are in heterosexual relationships. Some identify and outwardly express as male, some as female, and some a blend of both. Kids and teens can be populars, jocks, floaters, good-ats, fine artists, brains, normals, emo/goths, anime/manga fans and loners. We tend to see all that at a glance.
The #SeeMe movement asks us to go further and look at these three questions when we look at others, and ourselves:
What Do You See?
What Should You See?
What Should We See?
Doing this makes those distinctions shrink in the face of one incredible fact: we are all humans who deserve to be viewed for who they REALLY are. We deserve to be treated the way we want to be treated. Everyone deserves to be respected and not to be judged.
In honor of seeing others for what they are, STOMP Out Bullying hosts National Culture Week - this year, it is April 24-28th. It’s a great reminder to drop the assumptions and CHANGE THE CULTURE for you, your school and your community. National Culture Week helps spark a conversation and discussion in schools across the country to change the culture from one of cruelty to kindness and inclusivity, providing youths the opportunity to share and learn from each other's diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences. This year's celebrity moderator will be Jeannie Mai Jenkins, Co-Host of The Real and the E! Entertainment Channel. Jeannie will also be joined by panelist Lyric Ross (actress, This Is Us) Leo Sheng (actor and activist, The L Word), and Diego Tinoco (actor, On My Block). More celebrity announcements to come.
Schools can sign up for the "Culture Shock" event on April 25th which will be livestreamed into schools across the country where celebrities and activists will lend their voices and notoriety to challenge middle and high school students to end hate, discrimination and bullying. Middle School and High School administrators and faculty, register your school today.
You can help kids feel safe by supporting STOMP Out Bullying. We receive no local, state or government funding. Please continue your support by donating to our efforts. Funds raised for STOMP Out Bullying go toward assisting students in need of help and those who are at-risk of suicide. The more you give, the more students we can reach and we can strengthen and grow our programs. We are now accepting cryptocurrency as well as our usual donation system.
Funds support the HelpChat Crisis Line, in-school education, school visits, ending the hate, changing the culture and other prevention programs; educating against racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ+ discrimination, as well as public awareness and education, a dedicated website, brochures, an Educator's Bullying Prevention Toolkit and additional education and bullying prevention resources and materials.