use the right pronouns. these are required pronouns. they are survival. if you mess up, apologize and correct yourself. if you don’t know someone’s pronouns kindly ask “What pronouns honor you?” or “I use she/her, what pronouns do you use?”
don’t assume a trans person’s sexuality. know that gender identity and sexuality are two different things. while they do intersect, they do not determine each other. a trans person can be of any sexuality. avoid thinking/saying things like “why’d you transition to a guy just to be gay? wouldn’t it have been easier to just be straight?”
be an open ear, a great listener, a shoulder to cry on, and someone to lean on. trans people go through a lot. sometimes we need to vent, sometimes we need validation from our friends, sometimes we just need someone to be there for us. be that person. check in on your trans friends. stay connected. stay supportive. be open.
learn about the trans experience from other sources such as YouTube videos, queer culture sites, and personal blogs from trans people. your trans friend probably doesn’t want to be interviewed about their trans experience all the time. questions might be cool with your friend, but ask them first if they are feeling up to it before asking your questions.
call your trans friend by their name. do not ask what their birth name or “real name” is. we want you to know us for who we truly are, not how we were assigned at birth. our names and pronouns are part of our identity and for many trans people, hearing them can be gender-euphoric. the names we choose for ourselves are our real names.
don’t out your friend! it can be very unsafe and cause harm. ask your friend if it’s okay for you to tell someone they are trans before you decide to tell another person. disclosure is up to the individual trans person, not up to you. some people are out, some people are stealth, some people need to not disclose for safety reasons or personal reasons. be aware of that and respect that. don’t out your friends.
if you hear offensive language or ignorant comments in public spaces or online, if it’s safe, please speak up and educate that individual/group. we need more voices to amplify our awareness and help bring us towards equality. silence = violence.
a lot of trans people experience fear of public restrooms and may have experienced verbal or physical violence. you can ask your friend if they’d like you to come in with them or watch the door. regardless, you can stay aware of your surroundings to better protect your friend.
avoid asking questions about surgery, hormones, other medical questions, and questions about sex. this can come off as invasive, insensitive, and may cause dysphoria. if a trans person wants to talk about it with you, they probably will. don’t force it. let it be on their time and their terms.
About the Author:
Ryan Cassata is an award winning singer-songwriter, actor, performer, writer and LGBTQ activist & motivational speaker based in Los Angeles. With features in Rolling Stone, Billboard Magazine, The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Daily News, Ryan has made the most of his young career, which started when he was just 13.
As a musician with over 550 performances touring across the United States and internationally, including dates on the Van’s Warped Tour, SXSW and at the world’s biggest pride festivals, Ryan has been praised by The Advocate saying he’s a “Transgender singing sensation,” Paper Magazine put him on the “50 LGBTQ Musicians You Should Prioritize” list, LOGO put him on the “9 Trans Musicians You Need To Get Into” list and Billboard put him on the “11 Transgender & Non-Binary Musicians You Need to Know” list and premiered his most recent music video for “Daughter.” He has also been heard on Sirius XM Radio, BBC Radio 4 and other radio stations around the world. MORE INFO AT: http://www.ryancassata.com/