#DrewsViews: Being Trans / Being an Ally

by Drew Adams

I used to think that there was nothing good about being transgender — I mean I hated my body, I hated not being being the man I was meant to be, I hated the way society treats trans people (and I still do).

I realized something pretty quickly though about being transgender. I’m automatically part of a worldwide community that is fighting for equality and freedom. I was put in position where I had to stand up for myself against people who didn’t want to treat me equally, and I had to become my own advocate. While my start in activism was out of necessity, I realized that activism is what I’m good at. I realized that I loved it. I realized that I wanted to become a bigger activist and help as many people as I could.

Before activism, I had no direction. I didn’t know what to do with my life. I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t know how or who specifically. I didn’t like myself, or my life, and I was very depressed.

Discovering trans activism gave my life purpose. Coming out and transitioning saved my life.

And I’m in a community of millions who feel the same and have similar experiences. I believe that is my life purpose — I’m here to help people like me.

Cisgender people might be wondering how to be a better ally to their trans loved ones. Here’s a list of things you can do to improve your allyship:

  1. Uplift trans voices
    - especially trans people of color, trans women, queer trans people, disabled trans people, and non binary people.
    - Use social media to post about trans artists and writers
    - Include trans voices in your other activism
  2. Listen to trans people
    - Intervene in instances of transphobia
    - If you see a trans person being harassed, intervene however you can safely.
    - Don’t out a trans person without explicit permission, but interfere in misgendering when you have permission to
  3. Put your pronouns in your bio on social media
    - It normalizes pronouns being a part of the conversation
  4. Donate to trans causes
    - Point of Pride is my favorite trans specific cause; they provide free chest binders for trans masc folks, free breast forms for trans women, and do an annual surgery fund giveaway
  5. Donate to trans folks directly
    - Most of us have GoFundMe campaigns for medical care
    - Most of us have PayPals and CashApps

About the Author:

Drew Adams is a transgender high school senior from Ponte Vedra, FL, who is committed to LGBTQ advocacy at the local and national levels. He serves as his high school GSA’s president and raises money for Northeast Florida’s LGBTQ youth outreach, JASMYN, to which he also donates food, toiletries and school supplies. Nationally, Drew serves as a youth ambassador and advocacy volunteer for The Trevor Project, a youth social media ambassador for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and a Volunteer and Intern Coordinator for Point of Pride. On the legislative side, Drew lobbies for the Equality Act by visiting with his Congressional representatives and their staff.

Additionally, Drew has spent years fighting to change his school district’s bathroom policy to be trans-inclusive, and the fight is still ongoing. Drew is an International Baccalaureate student and a volunteer at the Mayo Clinic, and he hopes to go to medical school and become an adolescent psychiatrist specializing in transgender health. For fun, he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creates sculpture art and plays the piano.