- Assumptions: Do not assume that everyone identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth. How a person appears or dresses does not mean they identify that way. Allowing people to self-narrate their bodies is intrinsic to unlearning transphobia. There are some great resources to help you start learning about gender identity here!
- Language – Ask people what their pronouns are. If you are unsure use gender neutral pronouns, they/them. Avoid using gendered language such as “man”, “dude”, “lady”, “girl” until you have had a conversation with a person to know how they identity. When you are talking about gender and bodies undo essentializing assumptions that exclude trans people. Not all women have uterus’ and get periods, not all men have a penis. Equating bodies with gender is harmful and we can use language that is more inclusive and accurate. For example, when talking about periods you can simply say “people who menstruate….” It is that easy!
- Action – If you see or hear something that might be transphobic, speak up and take action against it! Because of the latent stigma imposed on trans people, particularly trans femmes, ensuring safety is of the utmost. Safety includes a range of actions; from challenging harmful stereotypes and language, to making sure your trans friends have safe ways to get home.
- Like sexuality, gender identity is fluid, dynamic and exists outside of cisgender “man”/”woman” dichotomy. Non-binary is an overarching term used to reflect this. Non-binary people may feel their gender is a mixture of feminine and masculine, is changeable, may feel no strong correlation to either gender or all of the above! Understanding and respecting non-binary folk means giving validity to how they describe themselves and their experiences. It is embracing the multifaceted and many ways we feel and manifest gender. It is respecting that non-binary embodiment of gender is as coherent as any other!
For more tips and resources on unlearning, click on one of the images below!
Now you have started your unlearning journey, keep going! The LGBTQIA* community is abundant with colourful, intersecting identities. What do you know about the intersex community? What are your assumptions about asexuality? Do you know what it means to be takatāpui? How does Aotearoa’s history of colonisation inform how we conceive of gender and sexuality today? Here are some links below to keep learning, unlearning and relearning!
Other links and resources
Takatapui – Part of the Whanau resource by Elizabeth Kerekere
Growing up Takatāpui: Whānau journeys by Elizabeth Kerekere and Rainbow Youth
Strengthening Solutions for Pasefika Rainbow
Decolonising Queer* Identities, an essay by Isabel Mudford
The Pain & Empowerment of Choosing Your Own Gender: Alok Vaid-Menon
Understanding Asexuality from the Outside
I’m Intersex, And It’s WAY More Common Than You Think
Colouring The Rainbow: Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives – Life Stories and Essays By First Nations People of Australia, a book by Dino Hodge
*Cisgender (often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. Cisgender may also be defined as those who have “a gender identity or perform a gender role society considers appropriate for one’s sex”. It is the opposite of the term transgender.
*LGBTQIA+ = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and other identities
We used some stats on our ‘UNLEARN’ posters, you can check out our references here