The last three years have been very hard on trans and non-binary people, who have watched as right after right has been taken away and government official after government official has been quoted as making very anti-trans remarks. As a result of the worsening social environment trans and non-binary people have experienced, many report making decisions to not access services, go out to socialize, or otherwise participate in public life, in order to minimize their chances of experiencing transphobia or violence.
That means that one of the most helpful and simple things you can do is “go with” your trans and non-binary friends, family members, and clients. Invite them to the movies, out for coffee, or simply for a walk. If your area is conducting an election, definitely offer to accompany trans and non-binary people to vote. When you are out in public with a trans or non-binary person, offer to go with them to the bathroom (public restrooms are often very fear-inducing for non-binary and trans people, as they are frequently sites of questioning, harassment, or violence). Tell your trans and non-binary loved ones that you’d be happy to accompany them to a medical appointment or other service provider visit.
One way to offer accompaniment on a broader basis is to set up an “Open Coffee Hour.” Advertise to your friends and social media contacts that you will be at a particular coffee shop, library, or other public venue at a particular time, just to chat. If you and/or the people who show up are not conversational butterflies (and many trans and non-binary people are not!), consider creating and bringing a bowl of conversation starters, some board games, or coloring books. Also practice your active listening skills, to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of giving people advice they do not want; one of the best gifts you can give someone is providing a sounding board for them to either figure something out for themselves or simply talk out something they can then let go of. An evening “open coffee hour” may be particularly welcome on days when the trans community has experienced another political or judicial loss, or a high-profile instance of violence.
A way to “accompany” trans and non-binary people without leaving home or work is to watch for and share social media posts that positively acknowledge trans and non-binary individuals and communities (while avoiding reposting repost news of violence or political setbacks!). Such posts are a quiet “I see you” and “I value you” affirmations for the trans and non-binary people who celebrate them.
#14DaysOfTransAction #TDOR #TransAwareness #TDOR2019