You’re probably a super trans ally. You get the pronouns right, every time. You make sure to ask if you’re not sure, and you ask in a way that makes the trans (or cis!) person feel comfortable. Good on you.
Seriously. Good on you.
But I just wanted you to know- that’s not the end of the story. In fact, it’s barely the beginning.
What trans and gender variant people need you to do, really need you to do, is correct other people on our behalf.
It’s not a matter of me being shy about it. Believe me, I have barely been shy about anything in my entire life. But I have corrected people on their pronoun use in the past, and it has not ended well for me. Not-receiving-needed-medical-attention levels of not ending well for me.
See, trans people aren’t common in most circles. So, most people won’t notice when they fuck up my pronouns. They won’t notice when they fuck up my pronouns six or seven times (by which time I’m having a shitty evening). But they will notice the eighth time, when I go, “Actually, it’s he.”
And rather than think, “Oh! That’s right!” They think, “Wow. Rude. I’m trying.”
Here’s where you come in.
The first time they fuck up (the very first time!), you just echo the correct pronoun a split second after they say the wrong one. And they catch the thread of what they were saying again, and it doesn’t become a Thing. You do it the second time. The third, if they need it- but they probably won’t, because actually, these pronouns aren’t all that difficult when you’re not strengthening the wrong connection in your brain all the time.
We can’t do that, because: a) We’d be making everything all about us. This is an accusation that gets levelled at trans people a lot. But we bet if someone started calling your aunt “Sir” she’d make rather a lot more of it. b) It’d sound weird, like we’d started referring to ourselves in the third person. You don’t like it when Trump does it. Don’t make us do it.
Please. I f you could take this advice to heart, and pass it on to other people, I would love you for that. Trans people need allies. Just- do it right. Thanks. 🙂