The transgender community experiences a great deal of stigma in our current politicized environment. Service organizations are tasked with creating a respectful and supportive environment for all the clients they serve. That makes it an imperative that health service workers and community organizers understand the best ways to support trans clients.
Here are five tips to help organizations create an environment of trust and respect for transgender clients:
Ask the client what pronoun they prefer. Gender is no longer static, so relying on assumptions will not work.
Don’t assume the challenges your transgender clients have to do with their gender identity. Trans people face the same issues your other clients’ face. Start conversations by asking what they’d like to talk about and how you can help.
Don’t make gender the elephant in the room. It’s likely that your trans clients have faced discrimination, which may lead to distrust of “outsiders.” If you do not identify as transgender, try sharing what inspired you to work with the community or what qualifies you to help.
Build a Network
Build a transgender-specific network of resources to ensure your referrals will be sensitive to your client’s needs.
Partner With Mentors
Utilize community superheroes. Are there transgender individuals you’ve worked with or know that could mentor your clients?