What is an ally?
Generally speaking, an ally is a member of a privileged group who takes a stand against oppression (examples: a white person who speaks out against racism; a straight person who works to end homophobia). An ally works to become part of social change rather than part of oppression.
What is a trans ally?
A trans ally is someone who commits to being open-minded and respectful to people who may have different or unconventional gender identities or presentations; who takes the time to learn more about trans people and trans lives; who confronts assumptions around gender roles and gender presentation; and who works to change the misunderstanding and mistreatment of trans people.
I'm already an ally to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. Aren't I an ally to trans people by default?
In recent years, "LBGT" has become a widely used term to refer collectively to lesbian, bisexual, gay and trans people. While there are many commonalities and points of overlap amongst trans* and gay, lesbian, and bisexual peoples, there are many issues, concerns, and experiences that are specific to trans people.
In order to be a good ally to trans people, it is important to learn about how the lives and concerns of trans people differ from those of cisgender (people who identify with their gender given at birth) people. Learning more about these differences will enable allies to better support and understand people who are trans and/or bisexual, lesbian, or gay.
How can I learn how to be a better trans ally?
Trans @MIT is happy to offer several kinds of resources, including tip sheets, reading recommendations, and in-person trainings.
The Allies Toolkit provides educational tools for anyone who would like to better understand trans people and gender differences.
- What is Transgender? (an educational brochure in PDF)
- Action Tips for Allies of Trans* People (an info sheet in PDF)
- Recommended Reading List (info sheet in PDF)
- Recommended Reading for Medical and Mental Health Providers (Lists medical and history-of-science focused books, as well as online resources for clinical guidelines, health information brochures, and examples of hormone protocols (info sheet in PDF))
- Trans* and Gender Variant Terminology (12-page glossary, PDF)
- Table: Gender Neutral Pronoun Usage (PDF info sheet)