Being Better Allies on Transgender Day of Visibility
Though the Pride flag has had its run of different versions since its inception in 1978, this latest rendition finally incorporates the inclusivity and visibility of both queer people of color (QPOC) and trans folks within the community. The pride flag should be a symbol of unity, inclusivity, and peace for all LGBTQI+ people but, unfortunately, that meaning has felt lost and even false to many. Trans folks and QPOC have shared countless stories of being marginalized within the queer community for far too many years and it’s time for change. The Progress Pride flag is an ideal symbol for that change. By waving this new version of the flag we are making visible our support for everyone within the community. But, (and it’s a big but) just to be clear, waving a flag does not mean you are being inclusive, it’s simply a start.
Part of being inclusive requires being an ally to trans folks and QPOC. Being an ally takes active work and it’s ongoing. It’s much more than just waving a flag and calling yourself an ally because that’s definitely not how it works. It works by taking action, speaking out against racist and transphobic language, intervening in transphobic and racist interactions, and challenging inequitable systems and institutions. By volunteering for or donating to organizations that work directly with trans folks and QPOC is another great way to practice allyship, or be a champ and showcase the talent and work of trans people and QPOC when you can.
Being an ally means being active in supporting others, but it also means working on ourselves to become better allies. Being aware of our unconscious biases, our privileges, and learning from our mistakes. It’s a growing process and nobody is perfect, so don’t worry, you’re not the absolute worst for messing up. Probably much like you, I am always learning how to do and be better, and part of that learning requires doing the homework. Taking the time to find reliable resources for the information we need. It isn’t fair to put the weight of teaching on someone who isn’t offering to carry it. It’s no one’s responsibility but our own to learn.
Fortunately, we have a cornucopia of useful resources at our fingertips! YouTube alone has a plethora of informative videos made by trans folks and QPOC answering questions we may have about anything, including how to be a better ally.
To help you out:
There’s a lot more out there so there’s no reason we can’t keep learning.
LUCKY FOR YOU, WINGS CAUGHT UP WITH THREE COOL AND GENEROUS PEOPLE WHO WERE WILLING TO SHARE THEIR VIEWS OF TDOV, THE PROGRESS PRIDE FLAG AND ALLYSHIP TO GET YOU STARTED ON YOUR HOMEWORK! HERE’S WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY.
For me, TDOV is a much-needed
shining light for the trans community.
We end every year with the
International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on November 20th. The lives of trans people are only highlighted when we are long gone.
Our recognition only comes when we
are dead and turned into another statistic. When March rolls in we get
to be celebrated by the rest of the
LGBTQI+ community and our own. We honor the lives of all the trans revolutionaries who came before us, who are present now, and inspire the trans future. Organizations get more attention and hopefully more financial support. Trans people get to share their personal stories online and bond more with their peers. It is 24 hours of mostly positive bliss before we roll back into our regular lives.
When the city of Philadelphia introduced the first revised version of the flag I was already impressed by the redesign. Adding a black and brown stripe on top of the standard six-color flag was a pretty bold move. This flag forced the LGBT+ community to look at the queer people of color that were constantly forgotten or even worse, discriminated against by their peers. The black and brown stripes sat on top so proudly and it was the first push for white queer people to start to be intersectional in their struggle. The two colors added on top got a mixed reaction and when Daniel Quasar designed the Progress Pride flag it demanded the visibility, aid and love that the trans people and queer people of color have been lacking for generations. Especially the way that the colors run through the flag in a chevron shape. A clear arrow pointing towards progress, and a sharp reminder to never forget about the less privileged in our community.
Trans-allyship to me means that cis
people stand shoulder to shoulder with us to make sure that we all reach our united goal, radical liberation from the powers that oppress us right now.
It feels like a grand task but it is one that trans people have been doing alone for a long time now. Something as small as respecting a person’s pronouns, examining your relationship with your gender identity and its implications in the world already lifts so much weight off trans people’s shoulders. I truly believe that if no trans person is free, none of us will be free, even cis people.
Life 7 days a week is what TDOV means to me. As an FTM who is living his transition, navigating both the medical
and legal systems, my visibility sometimes feels like an exposure. To be completely honest, I’m at a point in my transition where I just wish to be invisible to these institutions because the genuine feeling of invasion has reached its peak. I guess that for me, TDOV exists more for cisgender & non-binary people to have a specific day to support, celebrate and acknowledge their fellow transgender folks.
I like the idea of the Progress Pride flag, but I’m always a bit skeptical about this idea of ‘inclusion’ because it’s still centering on the majority and expressing the idea that they must include us or tolerate us in their environment. I do remember reading about the flag that the arrow is pointing
to the right to represent forwardness and
is placed on the left to express that progress is yet to be made, so in this
sense, the flag may be faithful to the current situation.
Allyship is a concept that shouldn’t be defined. There shouldn’t be any
(self-defined) allies. Again it’s giving too much credit to the majority like they’re giving themselves a tap on the shoulder
for being a good person. People should seriously start changing and reacting in their daily actions and ways of thinking, and not wait for specific days or events
to do so. I see way too much display of performative allyship.
If someone is an ally, they shouldn’t even have to talk about it. Fighting against oppression, especially when you benefit from these oppressive systems, should be organic. That’s what allyship should look like, it shouldn’t have a name.
Transgender Day of Visibility is a day that
I wasn’t aware even existed until a couple of years ago, around the time when
I finally found the terminology to
describe who I am. To me, it means that what I’m going through and my
experiences are not unique.
I was not alone in trying to find my
identity and I’m not alone now, living
with that identity.
he/him, she/her, they/them
I’m pro-Progress Pride flag all the way. Seeing not only the trans colors but the black and brown colors on the flag is heartwarming and I absolutely love it.
Not being pre or post-op means that people get confused when I tell them that I’m transgender because most people
don’t understand that there are more than FTM or MTF trans people. I usually refer to it as a spectrum on which I am somewhere in the middle. If someone wants to be an ally, it’s important for
them to listen, educate themselves as
much as possible and accept the unusual.
To me, everyday trans-allyship is
expressed by people who understand and respect that I’m not just
‘a guy’. It’s important to understand
that my gender expression is not about proving a point. The way I dress is my
own choice. I’m grateful to all the people who understand that looks don’t
define my gender and respect it.