5 ways to support trans folx without getting out of bed

A woman in a grey sweater sits up in bed, holding a coffee cup. Photo.

Even if you know that you want to learn how to be an ally to trans and non-binary people, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start. Have you ever been so confused as to how to support trans folx that it feels easier to stay in bed than not say anything in case you get it wrong? Today, I’m here to tell you that being a trans ally doesn’t have to be difficult, or even involve getting up. For days when you’re low on energy but still want to show up for trans and non-binary people, here’s five ways you can support trans folx without even getting out of bed.

*I am assuming here that you sleep with your smart phone or laptop next to your bed if not in your bed with you, so you can sleepily roll over and grab it to scroll through Twitter before your morning coffee. If you have a more healthy relationship with technology than that and haven’t had depression naps while cuddling your laptop, this might not be the article for you.

Put your pronouns in your social media bio

You know the 160 characters on Twitter and 150 characters on Instagram that you get to tell the world who you are? Well, if you’re a cis woman then it only takes seven of those to put your pronouns in your social media bio – and if you’re a cis man it’s only six! This would look like ‘She/her‘ or ‘he/him‘ if you’re cis. Putting your pronouns in your bio shows that you understand that someone’s gender identity cannot be assumed from their name or the photos they post on social media, and helps normalise trans and non-binary folx using different pronouns.

Educate yourself

I realise that this one might sound like a huge task, but it’s totally ok to start small. Read an article that explores the difference between gender expression and gender identity. Listen to a podcast episode which introduces you to some of the terminology trans and non-binary folx use when we talk about gender. Watch a YouTube video where a trans guy explains why JK Rowling’s transphobic tweets are, well, transphobic. No trans or non-binary person will expect you to know all the terms and who all the terfs are overnight – a big part of being an ally is being willing to educate yourself, but doing so is a process.

Make sure you’re actually following trans folx

Scroll through your Instagram feed and Twitter timeline, looking not at the posts but at the people you’re following. Is everyone you follow on social media cis? Diversify your feeds so you’re following trans and non-binary people – it’s important to listen to trans voices directly, and not just cis people who are speaking over us. If you want a good place to start, check out Gendered Intelligence, a national trans-led charity that works to improve the lives of trans people in the UK. I also recommend following activist and author Juno Dawson (she/her) and author of Gender: A Graphic Guide Meg-John Barker (they/them).

Amplify trans voices

This is another one that is easier than it sounds. Yes, there are lots of ways to amplify trans voices, but it can be as easy as retweeting something we’ve said on Twitter. Don’t just retweet that cis celebrity who is has just tweeted that #TransLivesMatter without a link to somewhere you can donate to support trans folks – or do, but also retweet a thread by a trans woman explaining why bathroom policing is harmful to all women and queer folx as well as trans people. And yes, it’s important to share our stories and our crowdfunding campaigns even if you’re worried that it’s not “on brand” for you.

Write to your government representative

If you’re able to do all of the other actions on this list, then you’re also able to contact your Member of Parliament – or State Senator or Member of Congress, depending on where you are in the world – and ask them what they are doing to support their trans and non-binary constituents. It’s easy to find their phone number or email address online, and you can call their office or send an email while still in bed! In my last post I linked to a template you can use to tell your MP that you don’t support the UK government scrapping the GRA reforms that would allow trans folx to self-identify. You can find lots of these templates online, like this one from Gendered Intelligence that lets you contact the UK Prime Minister and tell him that you do not support Liz Truss’ plans to roll back trans rights. It’s an act of activism that you can do in your pyjamas.

Right now, being a trans person is incredible exhausting. Please consider supporting me on Patreon to help me keep creating advice on how not to be a dick to trans and non-binary people. For a super easy way to support this trans person without getting out of bed, share this post on Twitter to help educate your followers!

3 things that I wish trans "allies" would stop saying

3 Responses

  1. This is super helpful stuff, Quinn. Thank you! I did #1 the minute I read it.

  1. July 1, 2020

    […] thought that this week’s post was going to be another listicle about the words you shouldn’t use when you’re talking about trans and non-binary folx. […]

  2. August 21, 2020

    […] when they use the wrong pronouns for a trans person is one of the most important ways that you can show up as a trans ally. Dealing with someone’s potential defensiveness when they are corrected takes on some of the […]

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