On March 31, transgender and nonbinary people around the world celebrated International Transgender Day of Visibility to be supported for their courage and identity. For allies, let this serve as a reminder to show up and show support for the trans and nonbinary members of our community every single day.
Transphobia exists outside of the LGBTQ+ community, and it sure does exist within it. This may come as a shock to heterosexual and/or cisgendered allies who believe that the LGBTQ+ community is just one happy, queer family. It is not. Many struggle with the internalized homophobia and transphobia from years of anti-LGBTQ+ brainwashing from conservative families.
I am ashamed to say that, as a queer person, I still struggle with internalized homophobia. The trauma I have internalized from my youth is still something I am working through. However, the more I educate myself, it has become much easier to overcome. We must recognize when we are being ignorant, hold ourselves accountable, educate ourselves and move forward.
I encourage every one of my readers to support the transgender community beyond an Instagram share. Seek out stories by transgender creators, volunteer at or offer a service for your local LGBTQ center and educate yourself.
Learning the basic terminology surrounding the transgender community is a good start. Always use the name and pronouns a person tells you, and respect it. If an individual isn’t sure which identity label fits them best, give them time to figure it out for themselves. The terms a person prefers may change over time, and that’s totally normal and okay.
While many transgender people are happy to discuss their experience, allies still cannot assume that will always be the case. It’s our responsibility to educate ourselves, not theirs.
Those of us who aren’t transgender can never truly know what it feels like to struggle with our gender identity, and we should be compassionate to those who do.
Trans people in our community want the same things every other human being wants: to be loved, to be safe, to be productive, to be valued and to be understood. They fall in love; they care deeply about their families and friends; they have hopes and dreams; they are vital members of our community.
I will continue to honor and celebrate the achievements and resilience of transgender and nonbinary individuals and communities. That’s a promise.