Celebrated each year, Transgender Awareness Week is a vital opportunity to advocate for the visibility, protection, dignity and rights of trans, non-binary and gender-expansive people around the world. The week culminates on November 20 with Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance honoring the victims of the fatal epidemic of anti-transgender violence that disproportionately targets trans women of color.
To mark Trans Awareness Week, HRC’s Transgender and Gender-Expansive Employee Resource Group has some important reminders to know about how to support the transgender community.
1. When you meet one transgender person… you’ve only met one transgender person.
There is not just one sweeping transgender experience. The term “transgender” describes a collective community of individuals whose gender identities, expressions and/or lived experiences differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people have different stories and narratives that make them who they are.
2. Everyone has different personal boundaries.
Refrain from asking transgender people personal questions about their bodies, surgeries and other aspects about their transition process unless you have their consent to do so. And, just because a trans person might have talked with you about one personal topic doesn’t mean they want to discuss everything. And, remember: Different people have different boundaries.
3. Non-binary people can identify as transgender or cisgender -- or neither -- and that’s OK.
Non-binary describes individuals who do not identify exclusively as men or women, or who do not identify as either at all. A non-binary person may also use the terms genderqueer, gender fluid, gender non-conforming or others to describe their gender identity. It’s essential to always respect the terms that someone uses to describe themself.
4. There is no “right” way to be trans.
Trans people are everywhere and as diverse as the fabric of our nation. They live and work in every town, study at school, shop for the best deals at the mall -- or hunt for the best avocados in the produce aisle at your grocery store. You can’t tell if someone is trans just by looking at them, and there is no one, universal way that all trans people live their truths. Not all trans people want surgery or hormones, and no one is more or less trans because of it. Trans people have always been here and #WontBeErased.
For more information about how to support trans, non-binary and gender-expansive people, check out hrc.org/Transgender.