How To Talk about Anti-Transgender Prejudice with Your Family

StatePoint– Have you ever wanted to talk about the anti-transgender movement with your family but are unsure how? The conversation may start off pleasantly, but as it progresses, people may say things you don’t agree with, including hateful comments in support of anti-transgender prejudice and legislation.

So, how do you respond effectively without it going badly? Here are five things to keep in mind.

Humanize, Don’t Politicize, the Issue

Emphasize that anti-transgenderism negatively affects everyone. Everyone knows someone who is transgender or gender non-conforming, even if that person chooses not to disclose it. In some parts of the country, it is dangerous to come out as transgender, nonbinary or gender non-conforming because of anti-transgender prejudice, discrimination and laws. Simply put, transgender and gender non-conforming people are your friends, siblings, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, parents and children. So, hateful talk and political attacks directly affect cisgendered heterosexual people as well.

Ask Clarifying Questions and Provide Corrections

Sometimes, people are misinformed and repeat things they have heard instead of doing their own research. Other times, they believe that anti-transgenderism is justified because of misleading and harmful information promoted by the anti-trans movement. Either way, you can prevent or delay an argument from escalating by asking clarifying questions that provide insight into your opponent’s perspective. When someone says something transphobic or factually incorrect, ask them two questions: Why do you think that? Where did you get your information?

When they respond, present them with facts from your own research. You might say: “I don’t agree because I know, according to [insert resource here],” or “I think you should look at [insert resource here] because this source [explain what makes this source more credible].” If you identify as transgender, nonbinary, or gender non-conforming and feel comfortable debating someone with anti-transgender views, remember that even though you may not be a policy expert, you are an expert on your own experience. No one is qualified to tell you about your experience, and you are not obligated to answer any questions if you feel unsafe.

Share Resources

Sharing resources can combat ignorance and bigotry. Connect with local trans organizations, follow them on social media and participate in their events. This is a great way to access more resources and meet allies and transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming people. Furthermore, you can direct people who want to learn more about anti-transgender prejudice and legislation to free resources like the Transgender Legislation Tracker.

Flip the Script

Unsurprisingly, data supporting anti-trans legislation is inherently negative. Reinterpret it with a positive take. For example, let’s say you read a statistic that says that 40% of trans youth experienced homelessness in 2023. Put another way, you could say that 60% of trans youth had stable housing in 2023. Promoting negative statistics on trans and gender non-conforming issues pushes the narrative that “transness” is bad.

Continue Talking

Because they fear retaliation and harassment, many transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary people and allies cannot openly support trans causes, creating a sense of hopelessness, especially in areas where anti-trans prejudice and legislation are rampant. However, you do not have to be on the front lines of a protest to advocate for and support trans and nonbinary people. Simply having conversations with trusted family and friends can be effective. There is a lot of confusion surrounding anti-trans legislation in the ally community and in the transgender and gender non-conforming community. Across the board, most people are unaware of how pernicious anti-trans laws and social norms are, and how they make it hard for everyone to coexist peacefully.

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While conversations still may end in an argument, it helps to have tools for getting your point across while maintaining your dignity.