Quick Tips from the LGBT Resource Center

In honor of raising awareness of transgender* and gender non-conforming folks on our campus and around the world, the UC Irvine LGBT Resource Center is celebrating one of our annual awareness weeks: Trans* Action Week (Nov. 12 – 15).

This week honors and celebrates one of the rich communities within the LGBTQIAA* spectrum. This week was created in response to the increase of trans* and  genderqueer people at UCI and the lack of awareness surrounding trans* issues.

Each day this week, there will be an event in celebration of our trans* and gender non-conforming community. In preparation for this week and beyond, here are some quick tips that you can use to be supportive to the trans* and gender-nonconforming community.

*trans refers to a diverse group of individuals that identify across the gender spectrum including transgender people, gender variant, agender, transsexuals, crossdressers, genderqueer folks, drag kings and queens, studs, and all those who identify as contributing members of gender fabulousness.

Ask, Don’t Assume. When it comes to pronoun usage, you can never know until you ask! The English language gets so mucky and gendered sometimes that it can inaccurately reflect on one’s unique identity. But don’t worry, there is a way to avoid inaccurately referencing people: preferred gender pronouns (or PGPs) are pronouns that someone personally identifies with. Asking for someone’s PGPs is a way to respect each person’s unique identity. There’s a whole bunch of pronoun options including, but not limited to, she/her/hers, he/him/his, zie/hir/hirs, and they/them/theirs.

Respect all Gender Identities and Expressions. Allies to trans* and gender-nonconforming students need to recognize that there are infinite ways that gender can be expressed. A supportive ally accepts this diversity of gender expression and gender identity. Be careful not to tell anyone to act more masculine or feminine. Allow all people to express themselves freely!

Challenge and look out for Gender Assumptions. UCI is filled with gender! From the types of sports offered, the signs on the bathroom doors, and even the language on school posters, gender is everywhere! Begin to challenge how gender expectations are communicated at UCI. Pay close attention to images, language and behaviors, which can all express gender expectations.

Buddy Up. Transgender and gender-nonconforming students can be uncomfortable in gender-exclusive spaces, like locker rooms and bathrooms. Ask your friends if they would like you to accompany them in spaces that they may feel are unsafe!

Be Supportive. To be a great ally you need to be informed. Learn more about the trans* and gender non-conforming community. Recognize that every person is different and has a unique experience, identity and needs. While trans* and gender non-conforming students may want or need support, it’s always good to check in with your friends about how they would like to be supported!

Aside from this week’s calendar of events listed below, the LGBT Resource Center will be out on Ring Road from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.