Trans people are not your teachers

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

This is, a big one. As a transgender nonbinary person, I often have to remind cisgender people that not all trans people enjoy sharing insight into their gender, the transgender community or explaining the differences between different gender identities.

Not all trans people are interested in being an advocate for their community or teaching others about the nuances of something very personal.

Just as we can’t, and shouldn’t expect other individuals of marginalized communities to speak on behalf of the ENTIRE community, pride month is an important reminder that queer folks, and especially gender diverse folks have a wide variety of opinions and perspectives that aren’t always aligned.

This means not all trans people may be interested in sitting down for a coffee and explaining how they knew they were trans. Some trans people want to be speakers and advocates, and are very open about their experiences. Others have no interest in being a teacher or educator or facilitating workshops.

It feels like this shouldn’t have to be said, but each pride month I’m reminded that cisgender people make a lot of assumptions about trans people and the gender diverse community as a whole. Putting people on the spot with invasive questions about coming out, gender dysphoria, medical transition and more means making the assumption that this person is comfortable sharing intimate examples about their personal life.

As a nonbinary person, I will be the first to say I fully support transgender and nonbinary people who do not want to educate others on their gender. This is an expectation I see pushed on so many people who assume the only way to learn is to pry and put trans people on the spot to learn. This is not the way, you fools!

You have to do the work

To learn more about transgender and gender diverse identities, you have to do research. You have to hire consultants and trans advocates (who are ACTUALLY professionals and want to educate and teach people about gender, you’ll know because they’ll actually talk about their work!) and read the books they recommend and listen to the podcasts and videos they assign as homework.

Doing research only on our own is a sure fire way to miss the nuance and vast variety of opinions our community holds. You have to understand there will be variations, and that at the basis of all this work is the understanding that there is no one size fits all answer. We have a variety of opinions about gender and identity, and your biggest lesson will be in learning not to make assumptions and come with an open mind.

How to find transgender teachers

I recommend researching DEI inclusivity advocates that are transgender on LinkedIn as they often advertise their professional services and websites.



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Liz Brinks

Liz Brinks

Hey, I’m Liz Brinks (they/them) I’m a queer gender-non-conforming writer, business coach & cat-parent (@itsjuustliz everywhere) based out of Wisconsin!