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Supporting Trans & Non-Binary Individuals

It’s 2023. We see trans people in the media, on the street, in our families, at school, and at work. While our trans community members are being targeted by recent legislative attacks, many are looking for resources about how to support the trans and gender non-conforming people in their lives.

We're here to help. Before we can talk about support, let's go over the basics. Here is some terminology that’s important to this conversation:

  • Gender Assigned at Birth: The sex (i.e. male or female) that is given at birth, usually by a doctor or midwife. This is not always aligned with someone’s gender identity

  • Cisgender: Someone whose gender identity aligns with their assigned sex

  • Transgender: Someone whose gender identity does not align with their assigned sex

  • Non-binary: Someone who does not identify exclusively as male or female, identifies as both, or doesn’t identify with any gender at all (since “trans” is the opposite of “cis”, non-binary folx can also fall under the “trans” umbrella. We get it, it can be confusing!)

  • Genderqueer: An umbrella term for gender non-conforming and/or non-binary identities

  • Two Spirit: A term used by Indigenous People to indicate that they embody both a masculine and feminine spirit, which also challenges the colonial constructions of the gender binary

Now, let’s talk about the gender spectrum. Let's imagine it as a straight line, with one end as “Male” and the other as “Female.

Many people think Non-Binary lies directly in the middle of this line. But, as we know, gender can take on many different forms. It’s more of a spectrum, with Non-Binary falling on many different points of the line - and sometimes even off of it! It is not uncommon for two people to identify as Non-Binary but have very different ways of presenting or embodying their gender identity.

Gender is inherently personal. If you’d like to have a conversation about Gender identity with a loved one, approach it with kindness and a willingness to understand they may not want to share. You can still support someone even if you may not completely understand their gender identity! The act of gender transition can take many different forms. Some folks may utilize just one, all, or a combination.

  1. Social: A transgender person’s process of creating a life congruent with their gender identity. This often includes coming out to the people in their life at home, work and/or social settings, use of a chosen name and pronouns, and even modifying the way they dress or present themselves.

  2. Medical: A series of medical interventions that may utilize hormonal treatment (HRT) and/or surgical interventions to change a person’s physical body to be more congruent with their gender identity.

  3. Legal: The process of updating legal documents like a birth certificate or drivers license. Legal for adults in most states in the U.S.

We all (youth and adults) have the right to try new things, to change our minds, and to discover who we are on our own terms and timeline. Adolescence is often a time of self-discovery, and many young people will experiment with different names, gender identities, and pronouns that they feel best represent who they are.

Did you know the suicide risk for trans and non-binary youth is reduced by 40% if they have a caring adult in their


You can be that one!

So, how can you stand up in support of our trans and non-binary community members? Here’s just a small list with a few ways you can make a difference:

1. Speak out against injustices directed at transgender and non-binary people.

2. Actively encourage transgender and non-binary people’s leadership as a contribution toward creating social change.

3. Seek out and be receptive to feedback from transgender and non-binary communities.

4. Share your pronouns and ask others for theirs when meeting new people.

5. Amplify the experiences of transgender and non-binary people to a broader audience.

6. Acknowledge your own cisgender privilege and use it to engage others in meaningful conversations and raise awareness.

Looking to learn more, or share this information at your place of business? Learn more about QUEERSPACE collective’s training services.

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