10 Things To Know To Create Trans Inclusive Spaces
With over 250,000 trans people in the UK it’s never been more important to create inclusive spaces where those who identify as transgender feel free to be themselves and have the confidence to thrive.
Being trans inclusive means creating an environment where people who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming feel welcome, safe, and respected.
Unfortunately, it’s common for trans people to face discrimination, isolation and abuse within society which can no doubt affect their health and wellbeing. A Stonewall survey found that 41% of trans men and women had experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity.
So, there is clearly more work to be done in terms of preventing discrimination to transgender and non-binary people, as well as creating a more inclusive and accepting society.
Within this post we’ve put together 10 things to know to create trans inclusive spaces.
1. Join The Safe Space Alliance
It’s important that all members of the LGBTQ+ community know where they are safe, welcome, and valued, which is why joining The Safe Space Alliance is a great way to create trans inclusive spaces.
Here at HFS, we know that transgender and non-binary individuals experience unique challenges within society, and university life can come with its challenges too.
We recently collaborated with The Safe Space Alliance which is an LGBTQI+ led non-profit organisation that aims to help people identify, navigate, and create safe spaces for LGBTQI+ communities worldwide.
All of our student accommodation properties are registered as Safe Spaces, making them a diverse, inclusive and accepting environment for all and every member of the LGBTQI+ community.
Safe spaces can be classed as physical, mobile, digital spaces, and heritage spaces. If you want to find out about Safe Spaces within your area, or register a space under the alliance head to the official website.
2. Use The Correct Pronouns
Using the preferred pronouns of transgender and non-binary individuals is one of the simplest yet most important ways to show your support.
Gender pronouns are the terms that people choose to refer to themselves which reflect their gender identity.
You should always use the pronouns that someone prefers, even if they differ from the ones you might assume based on their appearance.
If you’re not sure what pronouns someone uses then listen to how other people refer to them, ask them or even check their social media.
Everyone wants to be correctly identified, right? Mis-gendering someone by using incorrect pronouns can be hurtful and offensive, not to mention it can actually make people feel unsafe.
If you do slip up and refer to someone with incorrect pronouns then apologise and state it was a mistake, of course if you continue to mis gender someone then it’s a different story and it’s disrespectful.
3. Share Your Pronouns
Sharing our pronouns is a vital part of building a more inclusive society so, even if you are cisgender (your gender identity corresponds to your birth sex), it’s important to do so.
By sharing your pronouns with others whether it’s in conversations, on social media or within emails and so on, you are helping to end gendered assumptions and helping to normalise discussions around gender.
Sharing your pronouns is a simple yet impactful way to promote inclusion and has a bigger impact than you might think, with research suggesting that affirming a transgender person’s pronouns can help lower depression and raise self-esteem.
4. Educate Yourself
Creating trans inclusive spaces is an important step towards a more welcoming and supportive society for transgender and non-binary people.
Learning what it means to be transgender is key to creating truly inclusive spaces so, take the time to educate yourself about issues, experiences and challenges experienced by trans and non-binary individuals.
By doing this you will have a better understanding of the needs of the community, help to create an environment that is truly inclusive and be a better ally.
Quite often people rely on members of the LGBTQI+ community to educate them on certain topics, but this shouldn’t be the case.
There are so many educational resources out there to learn more about the transgender community and take things into your own hands, like the Stonewall website.
5. Address Discrimination
To help to create a safer environment which is inclusive of trans people it’s important to call out transphobic comments or behaviour when you see or hear them.
You should make it clear that harassment and discrimination of any kind isn’t acceptable even if it’s played off as a joke’ or ‘banter’.
We’re not saying you should get yourself involved in conflict, but you should adopt a zero-tolerance approach to any harassment and bullying towards trans or non-binary people.
Sometimes people are discriminatory due to lacking education about certain topics so, share with others what you know about trans issues and work to educate others on why such language or behaviour is harmful.
6. Be Respectful
It’s important to treat trans people with the same level of respect and dignity as you would with anyone else.
Rather than asking a trans person uncomfortable, inappropriate, or intrusive questions about their body, transition or experiences, you should be respectful and let them tell you if they want to.
Transgender people do not look a certain way or come from any one background, so it’s important to be mindful of microaggressions and backhanded compliments too.
These are statements that can be harmful or offensive to a trans person even if the person saying them thought that they were being supportive.
Such as, telling someone that “You don’t look trans at all, I wouldn’t have guessed” or saying “Be grateful you don’t have periods” are microaggressions and harmful.
7. Advocate For Trans Rights
Supporting policies that protect the rights and safety of trans people as well as being vocal about your stance on certain topics is key to creating a trans inclusive society.
If you’re able to, consider donating or volunteering for one of these organisations to support their work and help join the movement for trans inclusion and equality.
Attending transgender events, protests and demonstrations to show your support for the community is important, but so is showing up for your transgender friends and loved ones!
8. Listen To Trans Voices
Rather than assuming what the trans or non-binary people in your life need, listen to their voices, experiences and perspectives, if they feel comfortable opening up to you.
You could also engage with trans creators online to learn more about people from different backgrounds, ages, and experiences within the trans community.
You could listen to podcasts, watch TikToks, read books or articles, or even follow trans activists or influencers on social media.
When possible, you should try to use your platform to amplify the voices of trans people.
Share their stories and experiences, and help create space for them to speak out.
Remember, you should reflect on your own biases and assumptions and avoid dismissing or invalidating the experiences of trans or non-binary individuals.
Instead try to listen actively and openly to ensure trans voices are heard and valued.
9. Be Careful With Outing
Outing is when someone discloses the sexual orientation or gender identity of an LGBTQI+ person without their consent, and it is something you should never do, even if you’re ‘only’ telling someone close to you like a friend or family member.
It is ALWAYS the decision of a trans person to tell others that they are trans, or to not tell them, you should never assume that a person would be fine with someone knowing their gender identity or expression.
Not only are you telling someone else’s story which they should be able to share when and how they please, disclosing this information could have devastating consequences in society.
10. Celebrate The Community
Part of helping trans and non-binary people thrive within society is by celebrating the community and showing your support through your actions.
You should try to attend events that celebrate and support the trans community, whether it’s standing up for trans rights on Transgender Day of Visibility, getting involved with Pride Month events or speaking up about the variety of issues transgender people face during Transgender Awareness Week.
You could even host an event or organise a group at your university, or within your student accommodation to support and uplift trans people and their experiences.
By taking on board these 10 things, you can strive to be trans inclusive and help create a more welcoming and accepting society for all, regardless of gender identity!
If you have any tips to be more trans inclusive, let us know @_homesforstudents.