It's IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia) - a day that reminds us that we don't just celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, we also have to protect it. It's a sad truth that hate is on the rise, particularly against trans people, and actively fighting it is needed more than ever. It's easy to think that real change as to come from the top. It's not so easy - but so important - to know how we can make change in our own lives for the individuals and communities around us.
Here are our top recommendations for things you can do - right now to support trans people and communities. Stopping transphobia is everyone's responsibility.
1 Be an active bystander
Hate crime against trans people has risen over the last five years. It’s going to take long-term systemic change to stop hate altogether, but you can still help victims in the moment. If you see someone being harassed or verbally abused – on the tube, for instance, or in the street – you can intervene without escalating by asking them to join you, and seeing if they need any help to get where they’re going.
Breaking The Silence is a project from Cambridge University with information about how to safely and effectively be an active bystander.
2 Listen, apologise, move on
If someone corrects you on their name or pronouns, or you realised after the event you got it wrong, don’t make a big deal about it. Just listen, apologise, and move on. Even if it’s well-meaning, apologising too much or drawing attention to it is more likely to make someone uncomfortable than just getting on with it.
3 Don’t leave all the work to trans people
If you're not in the community you might think that trans issues should be left to trans people. You might be worried about saying the wrong thing or stepping on toes. But the thing is, standing up to transphobia is tiring, and trans people are tired. We're always stronger when we stand together. If there isn’t a fundraiser you can support, why not start one (try LocalGiving for easy, ethical fundraising support). If someone is being excluded, why not reach out? If no one is saying anything, why not start the conversation?
4 Show your work
If you want to go out of your way to resist transphobia, be open about it. Putting up flags or inclusive signs in your place of work can signal to trans colleagues and members of the public alike that they are welcome. No one’s asking for head-to-toe flags, but a little gesture can go a long way.
5 Join a mutual aid group
Some places across the UK have mutual aid groups specifically to support the trans community (like Trans Mutual Aid Manchester, or Trans Aid Cymru). Even if there isn’t a trans mutual aid group near you, larger national organisations often support trans people in a material way, like renter’s union ACORN. Trans people are disproportionately likely to be affected by social issues like poverty, precarious housing, and employment discrimination. By fighting these wider social issues, you're supporting the trans community.
6 Support trans organisations
Trans-led charities and voluntary organisations are always short on time and resources. Donating is one way to help out, or you may be able to sign up as a volunteer and get involved with the community on the ground. Local organisations in particular have been struggling since the pandemic, so look online (LGBT Consortium have a good directory to see who's nearby. All the support we get helps us keep fighting transphobia.
7 Make your voice heard
Be vocal in your support! This could be calling out transphobia in your friendship group or workplace, or writing to your MP asking for them to support key issues – like the upcoming ban on conversion practices.
8 Look out for each other
It’s a hard time for trans people – especially those who are already marginalised, like young people and people of colour. Keep an eye on your friends and colleagues, and check in if you think they’re struggling. They might not want your support – and that’s fine – but if they do, it could make a huge difference. Our strength is in our love and our solidarity, and in sharing them with those who have less. Whatever you do to resist transphobia, do it first and foremost by supporting others.