Trans kids deserve respect

More stories from Rey Gray

All around the school, in teachers’ windows and on bulletin boards, there are stickers and posters that say “AISD Proud” on them with a rainbow in the background. This, along with requiring that each school in the district the school have a SAGA (sexuality and gender acceptance) organization, was apart of AISD’s movement to make schools a safer place for queer individuals.

If AISD really wants to be inclusive, it has to do more than just make posters around the school and start a club. It needs to educate teachers on how to respect and include kids on the trans spectrum.

A great way for teachers to do this is to ask for everyone’s pronouns and preferred names at the beginning of the year. During the “get-to-know me” activities that they all make us do, the teachers could put a place where kids can fill in their pronouns too so that it’s easier to keep track of.

By asking everyone in the class for their pronouns, it introduces it as a common courtesy and shows that the teachers respect trans identities and acknowledge that not every kid is going to fit the cookie cutter mold of “cisgender.”

Even with AISD’s new initiative, there are still some bumps in the road to reach respect and acceptance; especially when it comes to using the proper pronouns for individuals on the transgender spectrum (yes, it’s a spectrum). Most occurrences regarding not using their proper pronouns aren’t out of malicious intent; most of the time, they are just pure absentmindedness, confusion, or even a lack of knowledge.

But no matter what the intent is, the effect is still the same – trans kids feel alienated and separated from their peers.

Transitioning is hard enough for transgender individuals moving into adulthood, but it’s even harder when they’re transitioning during high school. The process of transitioning takes months or even years to get through, and it is not cheap either. Hormone replacement therapy is $1,500 a year, gender reassignment surgery can cost upwards of $30,000, and double mastectomy (breast removal) or breast implants can cost as much as $10,000 to $15,000.

In the meantime, all of us can do something completely free: respecting their pronouns and gender identity, no matter what stage in their transition they are on.

Slipping up on someone’s name/pronouns is okay – just correct the mistake and move on. There’s no need to make a big deal out of it and start apologizing over and over, just say “sorry, he/she/they” and continue on with your sentence. If anyone is ever confused on which pronouns trans people want them to use, they should just ask.

People in the trans community would much rather someone ask than be misgendered over and over. If anyone is ever confused on what it means to be transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, or any other identity, Google is a powerful tool that we can use to educate ourselves and get more insight. Not every transgender/gender non-conforming individual wants to explain their whole life story an endless amount of times to whoever asks.

On the topic of what not to do, no one should make an “I identify as an attack helicopter/toaster/trash can,” or “Did you just assume my gender?!” joke. They are completely de-humanizing and invalidating.

Transgender and non-binary people don’t want a lot. They just want to be treated and respected like any human being would. Don’t waste a few minutes making their lives harder when it only takes a few minutes to care.

Questions? Concerns? Want to share your opinion? Contact: Email: [email protected] Room: F203