FINALLY THE TIPS!
Tip 1. Start Using Gender Neutral Terminology:
It is not always possible to know a person’s gender identity based on their name, appearance, or the sound of their voice. Of course we think gender has a “look” as we often assume and assign gender to folks without their consent. This is the case for all people, and not just trans and gender non-con- forming people. When referring to new clients or folks you don’t know, you may accidentally use the wrong name or pronouns, causing embarrassment, anger, or distress. One way to prevent this mistake is by addressing people—both in person and on the phone—without using any terms that indicate a gender.
Instead of asking, “How may I help you, sir?” you can simply ask, “How may I help you?” You can also avoid using “Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms.” by calling someone by their first name. It’s always best to greet groups using genderless terms such as: Friends, family, folks, guests etc.
The Use of PRONOUNS: One way to find out folks pronouns is start with you first: “Hi I’m Keisha, my pronouns are she/ her / hers nice to meet you.” This prompts folks to tell you theirs.
Tip 2. Create an Environment of Accountability:
Don’t be afraid to politely correct other folks in your space if they use the wrong names and pronouns, or if they make rude comments. Creating an environment of accountability and respect requires everyone to work together it also encourages an environment of safety.
Tip 3. Speak with trans clients just as you speak with all of your clients and avoid asking unnecessary questions:
Some people are curious about what it means to be transgender; some will want to ask questions. However, like everyone else, trans people want to keep their personal lives private. You are there to provide a service not to ask them invasive and disrespectful questions. Before asking a trans person a personal question, first ask yourself: Is this question necessary for the service I am providing or am I asking it out of my own curiosity? If it is out of your own curiosity, it is not appropriate to ask. Think instead about: What do I know? What do I need to know? How can I ask for the information I need to know in a sensitive way?
Tip 4. Be intentional:
Make sure you are intentional in providing inclusive visual representation of folks with varying size, ability, gender, race etc in your marketing material. Seeing thoughtful and beautiful images of people who look like me in a space almost immediately makes me feel welcomed.
Tip 5. Be specific about the access that you are or are not providing.
Is your space:
Wheelchair accessible (with accessible bathrooms) Scent & fragrance free, equipped with easy to see Signs, Non Slip Surfaces? Can anyone regardless of socioeconomic status utilize your space or afford your services?
Do you offer sliding scale rates, scholarships or free training for marginalized folks to participate?
Are you consulting with individuals and organizations in your local trans, queer and disability communities about how you can provide better access to these populations. If not; reach out! You’d be surprised on the ways you can plug in and support. Also as a minimum provide gender neutral bathrooms and locker room options. This can be done by simply changing the signs on the bathroom door to more neutral terminology.
If you’d like to learn ways to provide more affirming and accessible spaces for folks...while supporting a trans person of color in the process please considering purchase this awesome manual HERE. It’s well worth the small investment!
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Thanks for taking the time to read this! I hope you found it helpful.
In Warmest Solidarity,
Ilya Parker- LPTA, CMES