Much to our chagrin, it isn’t enough to just tell somebody you love them, that you accept them, that you honor their gender identity, their pronouns, and their gender expression. It isn’t enough to transcend centuries of social conditioning to be reaction-less in the presence of anything that challenges the status-quo.
These things are all beautiful, wonderful things that demonstrate a willingness and commitment to diversity and inclusion. They are beautiful and wonderful, and yet they are not enough.
Being an ally is more than using a person’s chosen name. It is more than including your own pronouns at the end of an email signature or in the bio section of your social media.
Being an ally is the abandonment of ego and the willing acceptance of the personal responsibility to not only know when you are wrong, but to know when to anticipate being wrong. It is more than apologizing when you slip, it is committing to doing better each time you do.
It is not passive placation and acknowledgement. It is not waiting for your trans friend to correct you.
It is effort. It is action. It is proaction.
If you misgender a person in front of others, correct yourself in front of others. Don’t apologize in private. Set an example. Lead by example.
We understand. If anyone understands more than anyone else, it is we who were taught to be anyone other than who we are; who were taught we were anyone other than who we are. It’s new, we get it. We SO get it.
But I, we, would much rather hear you stumble to the correct pronouns than hear a profuse private apology…or worse, no apology at all.
It is uncomfortable, I know. Uncomfortable is scary, I know.
Forgetting and reverting to a lifetime of conditioning is more than expected. I so know.
But correct yourself. Correct others. Do it in writing – especially in writing, when you have extra time to think and consider and revise and edit. And show me, us, that you see us and that you dare to be the light so that others may see us, too.