Here at SSRD our number one rule is Be Excellent To Each Other. As a trans inclusive league, these are some of the pointers we follow to ensure our trans teammates feel safe and respected.
How to look after your trans teammates
1. Use the proper pronouns.
Referring to a trans person by the wrong pronouns is called misgendering, and is a mean and hurtful thing to do. Using the wrong pronouns is the quickest way to lose your teammate’s trust. Like trans activist Kate Bornstein explains, “Pronouns are important because they indicate a degree of respect. Who doesn’t want to be respected?” If you do mess up, give a brief apology and then carry on. As long as you make the effort to get it right in future, that’s what counts. If you hear someone else misgendering them – call that person out.
Also, don’t ask about someone’s previous name. It’s not relevant, and is known as deadnaming. It’s nasty. Don’t do it.
2. Don’t ask about surgery.
A trans person’s decisions about surgery are private and sensitive, and questions about their choices are invasive and unnecessary – what’s going on with someone’s body is their concern, not anyone else’s.
3. Educate yourself on trans issues
Your trans teammates are not mouthpieces for all trans people and it’s unfair to expect them to be your teacher. While someone might be happy to chat to you, it’s not their job to educate you on the spectrum of gender identity. There’s loads of information out there, so leave your teammate to get on with their skating.
4. DO NOT out anyone.
Seriously. Nope. Never. Coming out as trans is deeply personal and can be an incredibly scary experience. If you think someone might be trans but they haven’t told you – it’s none of your business. And if someone has trusted you and told you that they are trans – that’s awesome! They trust you! That doesn’t mean they’re ready to trust anyone else. So don’t – unless specifically told otherwise – tell other people. At best you could lose a friend – at worst you could put someone in danger. Trans people can and do experience harassment, dehumanisation, disrespect and violence when their trans status is made known, so take care to follow any boundaries set by your teammate.
5. Make sure you have their back.
It’s no use saying that you support your trans teammates if when they need people to stand up with them and for them, you’re not around. Be there for them, and defend them. For example:
- Make explicit reference to how trans people are welcome in your league, and enforce a zero tolerance policy on transphobic attacks.
- When an opportunity arises to help make trans lives easier (such as 2018’s GRA reform consultation), rally the troops and get it done!
- Not heard from a trans buddy in a while? Sending a quick ‘how are you doing?’ message can help them feel less alone in a world that’s constantly attacking their right to exist.
Anything we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!