if you accidentally misgender someone, or say the wrong name, just correct yourself in the same manner as if you called a cis person by the wrong name or pronouns, which is not unknown because we are all capable of verbal slips.
sometimes i accidentally call people my dog’s name, or i call them “mom”
the right way to do this is “[wrong name], excuse me, [correct name]” or “[wrong pronoun], I’m sorry [correct pronoun]”
if you accidentally mess up someone’s pronouns, do not call attention to it by falling over yourself to apologize.
conversely, do not just move on and hope they didn’t notice. they definitely noticed. not correcting yourself is offensive, and pretending that you didn’t mess up is a form of gaslighting.
if you feel like going the extra mile, apologize the next time you’re alone with them, without excuses. say “I’m sorry that I misgendered you” or “I’m sorry called you the wrong name.”
do not say “it’s so hard, and i keep forgetting! I’m so bad!” trans people hear this over and over, and the message is that they should apologize for being who they are.
if someone close to you has changed their name and/or pronouns, and you’re having a difficult time with it, maybe you should practice at home.
I’m not angry or upset about anything in particular at the moment, but I thought I’d take a little time to write something out that had been bugging me about allies. It’s certainly not all-encompassing or totally comprehensive, but I hope it’s something I’ve been thinking about in terms of being a good ally and a good neighbor, especially here on Tumblr.
Before you step in to help us out, I’d just like to clarify a couple things.
You and I, we may have taken the same seminars and maybe even read the same Audre Lorde excerpts or Ronald Takaki books, but know this: we learned very different things in very different ways
For students of color, for gay students, for trans* students, for the children of immigrants and refugees, these classes aren’t always about learning new concepts when it pertains to us. It’s more about learning the names of things we already knew fairly intimately. Do you understand that? You learned it another way. You went in, you got this set of key words and a list of definitions. Your learning was, in all likelihood, “Here is this word. This is what this word means.”
For you, it was “Xenophobia: a strong fear or dislike of people from other countries.”
For us, it was “Xenophobia: the time that boy in my kindergarten class spat on me because I couldn’t speak English yet. Or when I saw that clerk yell at my mom in the grocery store because her English wasn’t clear enough. Or when USCIS had us confirm our American citizenship with the same set of papers seven times over the course of sixteen years because they wanted to confirm that we were, in fact, actual American citizens.”
For you, it was, “Racism: unfair treatment of people who belong to another race; violent behavior towards them.”
For us, it was, “Racism: that one time I saw that manager tell that sales girl to follow my dad around at Kohl’s. Or that one time my neighbor’s kid got shot by the police and they tried to cover it up by convincing everyone he was in a gang because he was Hmong, but we knew he wasn’t. Or that one time my dad told me I shouldn’t rollerblade to the library because I’m not white and it’s not safe for me.”
For you, it was, “Homophobia: a strong dislike or fear of homosexual people.”
For us, it was, “Homophobia: that time in the sixth grade when Ryan shoved against a glass door and banged my face in it while yelling, ‘faggot!’ at me until the teacher stopped him. Or when my Catholic high school’s president told me that, though he loved me as a child of God, he still believed I was sinful when I suggested that we start a GSA.”
For you, it was: “Classism: prejudice or discrimination based on social class.”
For us, it was: “Classism: that one time when my best friend came over to hang out in high school and her parents didn’t want her to come over again because they didn’t like our neighborhood. Or that one time when your friends had no idea what food stamps looked like and you were too embarrassed to explain what they were.”
So while you were learning that these academically-framed phenomena were real problems, we were just getting little figurative nametags for awful things that we already knew. Your weekly vocabulary list was, to us, just a hollow shadow of our lived experiences.
So my point is this:
If you didn’t live an experience, then step aside. Because we knew this stuff before our professors told us what to call it. We learned it from the bottom up, you learned it from the top down, and that’s not even a metaphor.
When you step out of class, you get to be like, “Oh, awesome. I am learning how to be a good ally and a better human being. This will help me.” For us, it’s more like, “Ah, so that’s what they’re calling it nowadays. When exactly did they say change was going to come for us?”
So in practice, here’s what all this theory looks like: you don’t always have to speak. I mean, certainly, you should totally call someone out on their oppressive bullshit. But if you identify as male, you don’t get to tell people what is best for women as though you have that authority. If you’re white, you shouldn’t be trying to “uplift” people of color by the grace of your intellect or your words. Nobody’s looking to be ‘rescued’ or ‘pulled up from out of their unfortunate circumstances’ as you may be tempted to believe.
All anybody’s looking for in an ally is someone who knows that “empowerment” means taking a step aside in a place where you know you have privilege. And if it is, for example, a PoC-to-PoC conversation, a woman-to-woman conversation, a queer-to-queer conversation, etc. about this stuff, and that isn’t who you are, you don’t need to be chiming in.
Just take our word for it, let us talk, and let us vent. We’d like you to give us room, and if you have to be helpful, then help make room for us by giving up some of your proverbial social girth.
Because the bottom line is that our academia has made a commodity of our lived experiences as teaching moments for you. And if you think your academic knowledge is more valid than our lived experiences, then you’re definitely not part of the solution.
And if you think your academic knowledge is more valid than our lived experiences, then you’re definitely not part of the solution.
list of things cis ppl can do
-use my real fucking name and my REAL fucking pronouns
-dont fucking touch me i will hurt you
-dont gawk at me in the hallways i will spit on you
-dont ask me about my genitals or ill punch yours
-dont feel entitled to any of my medical information you dont deserve to know any thing about me
-if you know im trans dont out me you little shit
-i am human and deserve respect. this is not negotiable. ever
holy fucking shit can i get this on a t-shirt please?
i am 100 fucking percent serious right now
I like that idea a lot. People not part of LGBT+ need to be made aware of it and articulate it in order to be good allies.
Honestly, that’s the best way to be an ally. Not going around yelling about I SUPPORT LGBTLMNOP PEOPLE but just EDUCATING OTHERS on a daily basis. Call out cissexism and heterosexism where you see it. When you’ve got the spoons, EDUCATE.
And above all, remember that it isn’t about you, and that’s okay.
failedslacker replied to your post: Don’t you think it’s possible to do Ally Week in a way that’s not abt straight/cis ppl getting cookies? Yes, respecting ppl SHOULD be the default setting, but unfortunately is not, so we have a lot of deprograming to do. I’d like a week where cis ppl like me talk abt how we educated ourselves abt trans issues because it’s our DUTY and how other ppl can do it too. Don’t you think it’s possible to do Ally Week in a wa that’s abt what we must do for the LGBTQ community, not abt ouselves?
or cishets could educate each other whenever homo- or transphobia crops up. or do it on homo-transphobia awareness day. naming a week for yourself shifts focus away from the gsm issues you are suppose to be supporting.
Good point, thank you!
Anonymous asked: Don't you think it's possible to do Ally Week in a way that's not abt straight/cis ppl getting cookies? Yes, respecting ppl SHOULD be the default setting, but unfortunately is not, so we have a lot of deprograming to do. I'd like a week where cis ppl like me talk abt how we educated ourselves abt trans issues because it's our DUTY and how other ppl can do it too. Don't you think it's possible to do Ally Week in a wa that's abt what we must do for the LGBTQ community, not abt ouselves?
Eh, I dunno. Maybe Ally Week as allies educating themselves and other people, but the problem is that Allies (big-A self-identified Allies as opposed to allies) ALWAYS make it into this big thing that’s all about them. If you want to turn Ally Week into something good, collect your folks whenever they start cookie-grubbing and call them on their shit. :3
Mod note: I changed it from caps, since all caps can be difficult to read for some people.
A LIST OF THINGS ALLIES DO NOT DO
-Allies do not expect you to explain how your identity can be valid.
-Allies certainly do not demand that you do so in a “calm, friendly way.”
-Allies do not accuse you of living in an escapist fantasy or call your identity a delusion.
-Allies do not blame you for getting offended at them calling your identity a delusion. They don’t have to hide this activity behind a readmore because they do not do it in the first place.
-If they do use a trigger warning, it is not in little teeny tiny letters below the post, but plainly visible for all to see. If they are unclear on vocabulary, they make this clear to you before initiating conversation rather than berating you for being upset after the fact.
-Allies do not talk about you while “making it clear that this post is not for you” and tagging it with tags that describe your identity group.
Respect pronouns. I don’t care if you think they’re “real” or not, respect them. Not doing that makes you a bad ally and an ass.