I have composed this letter not only as an ally to the transgender community, but also as an ally to the love of my life, my wife, who is transgender. My wish is that any and all allies of transgender people will share this with their friends and families. I hope that it serves as a teaching tool for cisgender people to better understand the transgender population. We are all the same. We are all different. It’s what makes our melting pot of a society such a wonderful place to live and thrive in. Let’s start with some definitions…
denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex; not transgender.
denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex; not cisgender
“We are all the same. We are all different.”
To Whom it May Concern,
Yes my mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, son or daughter is transgender. Transgender people are just like you and me. They are human beings who feel, cry, hurt, laugh, love, and bleed red just like the rest of us. They have families who love them. Some family members are those they share DNA with and others are special people in their lives who feel like family. Transgender people are entitled to the same constitutional rights as every other human living in this country. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors just like the rest of the population. Some are Catholics, Methodist, Mormons, Atheist, Buddhist, Christians and Universal Unitarians. They are young and old. They work, go to school and pay their taxes. The only difference is that they get teased, discriminated against, beaten and sometimes killed just because they are transgender.
Unfortunately many transgender people suffer from depression. Sometimes their depression sends them down the road of substance abuse, self-harm and in many cases, suicide. They struggle for acceptance from their families, friends and places of worship. They are told by society that they are abnormal, freaks, mutants, and pedophiles. They are often viewed as inadequate subpar individuals not worthy of respect. Their daily lives are inundated with gender dysphoria and self-doubt. They get kicked out of their homes, shunned from their families and fired from their jobs. They experience all of this because they are transgender.
What not to do. Never assume gender. It is always better to ask a person their preferred pronouns. Never make assumptions about the sexual orientation of a transgender person. Never “out” a transgender person without their consent. It is never ok to ask a transgender person about their sex life, genitals, or surgeries, past or future. It is never ok to ask their partner, spouse, or their children about their sex life, genitals, or surgeries. Never say transgendered or transgenders. They are an improper use of the word transgender. There is no right or wrong way to transition. No two transitions are the same. Every transgender person transitions in their own way and with a timeline that feels right to them. Never tell them that they are transitioning the wrong way.
What to do. Show compassion, just as you would with any other person you come in contact with. Educate yourself. Ignorance breads fear. Listen to transgender people with an empathetic heart. Support transgender rights through legislation. Challenge transphobic remarks made by others. Learn how to be an ally. Promote acceptance and inclusion in the workplace. Be a peacemaker; show humility, charity and love. At the end of the day we all want the same thing, to love and be loved. To feel validated, needed and useful. We are all the same. We are all different.