trans, acceptance, language, gender, safe space, outness, allies, advocacy, trans advocacy
Dawn: I think there are a lot of things that people do without realizing that they’re doing it that make it unsafe for trans kids to come out. Like I think just generally being aware about the language that you use, like using kids or children instead of saying boys and girls. And not dividing the class like boys over here, girls over here. Because that happened to my child, I was on a field trip and it’s like okay boys line up here and girls line up here and then my child was like literally standing in between the two lines with this frantic look, and then stood in the girls line. This was the first year, when she was only six, and everyone kinda laughed, like they didn’t laugh at her, but they laughed thinking that she was just being funny. But I think that’s a difficult situation because not everybody identifies as a boy or a girl, so dividing people in groups in different ways. Like not having blue binders for the boys, and pink - like being a little more like - just using gender neutral language when you have the chance. And then also talking about these things, like have the books in the classroom. I dunno, kinda be a safe - somebody may feel safe talking to you if you make a safe environment, but kids are smart, they really pick up on the cues from the adults, like some kids especially if their parents don’t support them, they will change themselves if they pick up any kind of cues from the adults that the adults aren’t comfortable. So the kid will think “Well, this adult’s not comfortable with me being trans, so I’ll just present like, cisgender to this person.” Like they’re very smart, kids are really smart and they can tell who is a safe person and who isn’t a safe person a lot quicker than you realize. So you may have lost your chance if you don’t - if you create an unsafe space. But it’s not really that hard either, like just listening and being aware of how you interact with people, and not always assuming that someone’s partner is - like not always assuming that people are heterosexual, like don’t assume that everybody is cisgender, like don’t go with the default all the time. So I guess that’s - and that teachers can make a big difference. Because some people, some kids they don’t have either parent that supports them, and so the school becomes the only place where they can be safe. And any place that’s safe is a really big gift for a trans child because they may not feel safe anywhere else.