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At Pride@SAP we understand the importance of our acronym – LGBTQIA+ and how every part of our community should have the same sense of belonging.  


March 31st marks Transgender Day of Visibility. While there are holidays commemorating transgender people who have suffered, International Transgender Day of Visibility focuses on more of the positive aspects of what being transgender means and takes direct action in changing the biases of people who don’t understand transgender.  


At Pride@SAP, we are often asked “how can I be a better ally”, and there are many answers to this, but always remember, the “right” things to do or say because often there is no one “right” answer to every situation you might encounter. I have spoken at SAP before about how Allyship should be seen as progress and not perfection – we are going to get it wrong and that’s ok, but when we commit to self-education and take steps to challenge anti-transgender remarks or jokes in public spaces, including LGBTQIA+ spaces, these actions will help 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. 

Here are some tips provided by the organization GLAAD.


* (, Updated March 2021 / Adapted from MIT’s “Action Tips for Allies of Trans People.”) 



If you don’t know what pronouns to use, listen first. 
If you’re unsure which pronoun a person uses, listen first to the pronouns other people use when referring to them. Someone who knows the person well will probably use the correct pronoun. If you must ask which pronoun the person uses, start with your own. For example, “Hi, I’m Alex and I use the pronouns he and him. What about you?” Then use that person’s pronoun and encourage others to do so. If you accidently use the wrong pronoun, apologize quickly and sincerely, correct your mistake, then move on. The bigger deal you make out of the situation, the more uncomfortable it is for everyone. 


Understand there is no “right” or “wrong” way to transition, and that it is different for every person. 
Some transgender people access medical care like hormone replacement therapy and surgeries as part of their transition in order to align their bodies with their gender identity. Some transgender people want their authentic gender identity to be recognized without hormones or surgery. Some transgender people cannot access gender affirming healthcare due to a lack of financial resources or access to trained providers. A transgender person’s gender is not dependent on medical procedures or how they look. Accept that if someone tells you they are transgender, they are. 


Challenge anti-transgender remarks or jokes in public spaces, including LGB spaces. 
You may hear anti-transgender comments from anti-LGBTQ activists, but you may also hear them from LGB people. Someone may think that because they’re gay, it’s ok for them to use certain words or tell jokes about transgender people. It’s important to challenge anti-transgender remarks or jokes whenever they are said and no matter who says them. 


Understand the differences between “coming out” as lesbian, gay, or bisexual and “coming out” as transgender. 
“Coming out” to other people as lesbian, gay, or bisexual is typically seen as revealing a truth that allows other people to know your authentic self. The LGB community places great importance and value on the idea of being “out” in order to be happy and whole. When a transgender person has transitioned and is living their life as their authentic self–that is their truth. The world now sees them as who they truly are. Unfortunately, it can often feel disempowering for a transgender person to disclose to other people that they are transgender. Sometimes when other people learn a person is trans, they no longer see the person as “real.” Some people may choose to publicly discuss their gender history in an effort to raise awareness and make cultural change, but please don’t assume that it’s necessary for a transgender person to disclose that they are transgender in order to feel happy and whole. 


Know your own limits as an ally. 
Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something. It is better to admit you don’t know something than to make assumptions or say something that may be incorrect or hurtful. Seek out the appropriate resources that will help you learn more. Remember being an ally is a sustained and persistent pattern of action, not an idle or stable noun.  


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Thank you, Alix, for your thoughtful and insightful post. As a transgender woman, one thing I want to point out when we talk about the difference between coming out as LGB and the processes (physical/social/emotional) of transitioning as a transgender person. As you mention, LGB sexual identification is part of their truth. For transgender people, it is typically not a change in sexual identification that is being expressed, but our entire gender identification. This typically means that our appearance will look radically different to the world, we typically change our name because we can no longer live with our "dead" given name, our pronouns change, and our entire world perspective may shift as we are able to identify and run in spaces with people of our new gender identity, spaces where we were likely never welcomed before. I also want to point out the challenges for those who identify as non binary, as our cultures don't typically know where to include them.

Please don't take my comments as in any way minimizing the challenges and lack of acceptance that LGB identifying people face when coming out. The challenges are just different, and each person experiences them uniquely in their own way. 

I appreciate all the support I have received from SAP colleagues and Pride@SAP during my transition these past 4+ years.