Demonstrating Respect

Do you know someone Transgender? This is a tip guide I have made for parents, relatives, friends, professionals and supporters, that will help to assit you in demonstrating respect towards a Transgender individual.

No matter where you find your own personal level of understanding or comfort level of Transgender people, if you following these simple and basic principals, you can show respect and make the Transgender person in your life feel that you DO care, and are trying to understand them, which in turn can be the foundation for building and restoring bridges and lines of communication toward healing, harmony and love.
For professionals, learning to properly show respect and making sure other employees do as well, can mean the difference between a productive work environment, and losing ones own job - possibly being sued, too!

Remember that your actions and words about or toward someone Transgender, will set a tone as the example for others on how they should act – especially children and teenagers. Showing dignity and speaking intelligently can be infectious on others around you, by spreading knowledge and promoting unity throughout the world.

Trans-Dignity 101

Demonstrate respect for Transgender people by using their correct "chosen" name and the correct pronouns which match the gender for which the TG has requested to be identified as, regardless of their outside physical or verbal identity being presented, regardless of your own personal opinions or religious moral values. 
Remember: It’s not about you – it’s about showing respect!
Example: If Bob asks to be called Betty, respect “Betty’s” wishes even if Betty still looks like, or wears Bob’s Clothes. 
Each Transgender person is unique in their gender variance and or presentation: If in doubt, ask: “How would you prefer me to address you now?

Old habits are hard to break – Transgender people know and understand this; making a mistake and calling someone by the wrong name or pronoun is ok, so long as you are quick and sincere in your attempt to correct the error.
Effort is what is appreciated!
Show by your demeanor that you ARE sincere. Let the Transgender person know that you acknowledge respect their request and do know the correct way they would prefer to be identified in their chosen gender by correcting yourself with the new name and pronoun.
These habits are hard to break but will only change if YOU make the effort to try. 
It is understandable that you may be confused or even uncomfortable with these changes.
Understand, this is your issue. Not theirs.
Changing your atitude, or the way you treat someone [because they are Transgender] based on your confusion, discomfort, or differing morals, values or religious beliefs, is bigotry - and it is wrong. 

Many people change their first, middle and even last names everyday, and we respect these request without question. Why should a Transgender persons request to change their name (or even their gender) be any different?
A Transgender person that corrects you for not saying the correct name or gender pronoun, is not out of line by correcting you - but it is understandable how this may make you feel embarrassed or feel threatened - don't be. Its a simple mistake.

Understand YOU are doing ALL of the following to a Transgendered person when you rebuke or deliberately ignore their request to be identified and acknowledged by their new name and pronouns:
Slandering: You are legally and mentally causing damages both personal, finical and professional when you cause confusion in their lives by calling someone by the wrong name or gender.
Endangering: Like any minority, you can be unknowingly endangering both the Transgendered person, their kids, family, co-workers, and friends by attracting hate crimes of attack or retaliation from bigoted and religious individuals who seek to fire, ostracize from church, schools and neighborhoods, harm and even KILL Transgendered people and those who associate with them. 
Abusive: Mental and physical pain is suffered by Transgender person from the traumatizing effects of having to deal with crushing, ridged and narrow minded statements like being constantly referred to as something they are not. It is painful and humiliating to Transgender people to be called by their former name or gender or to be referred to in the wrong pronoun. To do so purposely is abusive and arguably negligible to the mental and physical well being of a Transgender individual. 
Perpetuating hate and discord: Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Is it your goal to hurt and humiliate someone you love and; care for or are friends with; for that matter to anyone for any reasons?
  • Is it your goal to create animosity, stir rumors and road block any attempt at harmony, education and peace between you, the family or work environment which involves a Transgendered person?
  • Is it YOUR way or NO way? Are you being a bully for no reasons at all, except out of your ignorance?

What are YOU afraid of?
  • Being hit on, molested, attacked, or even bitten on the neck?
  • Catching “Transgender” cooties?
  • Offending God by "participating" in what you believe is someone else's delusions?

Consider this:

Many great philosophers have offered wisdom for the ages, but we need look no further than the great Yoda from the movie Star Wars when he said:
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

How can you help?

These are a few of the more important aspects that if adhered to, will serve to promote healing, harmony and love.

Act immediately when you hear negative comments among friends, family, Co-workers neighbors and children. Do not ignore it and do not use negative comments yourself. 

Incorporate lessons of showing respect into other relationships such as extended family when discussing Transgender issues or people.

Practice asking respectful questions before a Transgender comes to visit . Preview respectful behavior among other guests, family, co-workers before the visitor comes. 

Privately help others to understand and avoid negative or patronizing language.

Handle conflicts by listening, thinking, staying calm, and reaching thoughtful solutions that are confirming to the Transgender person and does not compromise their gender identity.

Model fairness in all your dealings with Transgender people where their gender identify may be of concern. 

Help Transgender individuals to build their self respect. Some may feel inadequate and/or unattractive because they cannot proceed or travel as quickly in their journey of transition because of financial or medical restrictions. 

Compartmentalize your feelings: Remember not to use someone’s Transgender issues as the trump card for all that is wrong in your's or other's lives. Being Transgender is not the root of all evil. You can show respect and promote harmony by increasing lines of communication by focusing on “the issue” at hand and not dismissing the issue simply because you wish to play the Transgender card.

Participate and support.
The most important aspect of demonstrating dignity is to be supportive to a Transgender person in their journey. Transgender individuals take steps at different paces that will fluctuate depending on the support levels given around them, and other various things like financial means and geographical location, to name a few.  
Road blocking, gate-keeping, ignoring or degrading an individual that is Transgender says more about you, than them. Again, ITS NOT ABOUT YOU. You may not agree with their choice, but neither they nor you stopped being human. 
It is also important to remember that being Transgender is NOT a choice – its "self preservation" of one who is born in the wrong body.

Get additional help by attending counseling and seeking answers from professions that deal specifically with Transgender related issues.

Mission of Dignity
Dignity is not something that need be earned or with held, rather it is an inherit right to all of Gods creatures and a demand put upon us by the Lord to show one another.

Thank you for taking the time to read and understand a bit more about we the Transgendered.
I invite you to please leave a comment here in this Blog to promote discussion and offer additional insights on how we can continue a mission of dignity.

Related article on "WikiHow": How to Respect a Transgendered Person

Updates: 01/13/2008, 10/22/2011


Chloe darling,
Thank you for adding this and your previous insightful and informative posts to GenderEvolve. I really enjoy reading your perspectives. Your writing and participation is greatly appreciated.

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