Trans* Ally 1-2-3-4
1. "Like" us on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TransAllyHK
or "Follow" our Weibo http://weibo.com/tgrhk
3. Send us some "encouraging" messages/photos to support Trans* people
Post it on our Facebook or Weibo, remember to include “#TransAllyHK” on fb
or weibo @跨性別資源中心
4. Show this card in eye-catching area to show your "support"
Trans* Ally 101
Thank you for being a Trans* Ally! Being a supporter, a fully understanding of the concept is not the most important. More important is to accept and embrace people different from you. Recognize the uniqueness and respectable of all individuals who born with rights and duties not because of the differences in their gender identity or sexual orientation. And every each of us should be treated equally without discrimination!
What is Transgender?
The most basic definition of Transgender (TG), is anyone who does not accept or do not agree with their biological sex (gender at birth), or the gender norms that society gives to them, they can be regarded as transgender. Their status can be presented or expressed by their own psychological recognition of gender identity, expectations of the body, gender identity in society, family roles, sexual patterns, gender expression, clothing, etc. But not every person who agree with the above definition, will identify themselves as transgender. We need to respect their own individual identity; we should not label other people. It is estimated that in every 300-500 people in the general population, 1 of them is transgender.
In the transgender community, each person’s different levels of difficulties, struggle, needs, orientation, conditions and environmental factors, will affect their choice of locating their position and identity, usually more people know about "transsexuals" and "cross-dressers". "Transsexual” (TS), is properly defined as people with a strong and persistent desire to change their gender, so it does not necessarily mean the completion of a sexual reassignment surgery. Most people easily addressed transsexuals as Shemale. The term “Shemale” in Chinese 人妖 is pejorative and we should avoid referring transgender or transsexual people to “Shemale”. Furthermore, "Shemale" usually refers to the Thai transsexual performer who does stage performances. Its uniqueness is that they look very feminine, but they still keeping the male reproductive organs.
“Cross-dresser" usually refers to men without or completely without strong desire to change their gender, they will sometimes, often or all the time dress as women. While women having similar situation generally do not classify as cross-dresser, because society is generally accepts women wearing men's wear or androgynous clothing. A lot of people refer cross-dresser as "Transvestite” which means cross-dress addiction, this term is associated to sickness and should not apply to those who identify themselves as transgender. People cross dress for different reasons. Some cross dress based on their needs, not addiction. It is understood that cross dresser have a different view of their needs, and some think it is a method to relief pressure because there are too many pressure to be a men. Some cross dress because of taste for beauty, some for gender recognition, and some cross dress to challenge society’s gender binary.
Transgender people can be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, some even do not want to be defined or simply do not know. Transgender dealing with their "gender identity" The desire for the opposite sex or same sex is called "sexual orientation." We will use the term “SOGI” to represent Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. We will also use the term "LGBT", to represent transgender, bisexual and homosexual people who have different sex orientation / gender identity.
Whether you have transgender, bisexual or homosexual people around you or not, you can still use the following principles, as your approach on sex/gender-sensitive issue in everyday life. You will never know if there are transgender, bisexual or homosexual people around you, a lot of them cannot be identified by their appearance or clothing they wear. Without a trusted environment, these people may not be willing to disclose their sexual orientation/gender identity. It depends on you to create such space.
Things you should not do
- You should not judge or discuss other people's SOGI, whether they are homosexual or not.
- If someone tells you about their SOGI, please respect their understanding of themselves, do not criticize or deny them.
- If you know someone's SOGI, please do not just tell it to other people, even their family members, unless they allow you to do so.
- If they have an ambiguous feeling towards their own SOGI, do not force them or help them to choose. SOGI can be fluid; for some it is possible to change over time, environment or emotional conditions. SOGI can be questioned or do not have to be defined.
- Do not overemphasize gender binary and general perception of gender stereotypes, such as "a man must be strong," or "a woman has to look like a woman", etc.
- If you want to express your acceptance and trying to be friendly, you should avoid over mentioning their SOGI, unless they mentioned it themselves, otherwise just treat them as ordinary people.
- If you are not sure about their situation, avoid joking about gender related issues, and pay attention to their reaction, try to be sensitive towards topic about sex and gender.
- Even if society generally considered it is polite to address people as "Mr.", "Miss", but for LGBTIQ people, you should first ask for their prefered pronouns.
- Do not assume that their relationship or marriage partner must be the opposite sex, dialogue such as: "What does your girlfriend do?" may also make them feel embarrassed. Try to use more gender neutral term such as "companion", "partner", or "the other half".
- Do not think that you can have any physical contact or treat them without scruples just by your understanding of their gender.
- You should not ask them about their previous name, or ask them to show their old photos, unless you know clearly that they will not mind. Some transgender people still care and even feel disgusted about their SOGI in the past; you can harm them with these comments.
- Do not casually question the condition about their gender or sex organs, or comment about it.
- Transgender people have different understanding of their gender expression. Their self-identification progress and history also varies, so do not assume there is a standard that transgender people should reach. You should not force them to change to meet certain social standards.
- While you do not know for sure, avoid to use “he” or “she” to address one person even that person is there or not. You can just say the name or make it clear with that person in a polite way.
Things you can do
- Listen to their story patiently, with an open attitude and ready to challenge your own understanding towards gender awareness and ready to learn from them.
- You can take the initiative to ask how they want to be addressed.
- You can say some words of encouragement, such as: "No matter what your gender is, you will still be my good friend", "the company will look at a person's ability to work, rather than a person’s gender identity" etc.
- When communicating with them, make more positive comments towards people who are openly out to the public about their SOGI.
- Place LGBTIQ friendly publications or signs in eye-catching places to show that you are LGBTIQ friendly.