Verbalizing support for a cause is a beautiful thing, but one of the biggest problems with calling ourselves "allies" is that too often, we use it as a means of ridding ourselves of any guilt we may be feeling for unintended complicity in the oppression of those we love.
When I read the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, I do think of Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice. I also think of Penny Proud, London Chanel and Candra Keels. But I also think of Andre and the two other young queer people of color who been murdered in Pittsburgh in the past two years.
As of today, trans women of color are the most targeted victims of hate. They are murdered by men who pass them on the street, by intimate partners in bed and by lovers who traded in love and understanding for ignorance and violence.
October was National Bullying Prevention Month, an annual campaign started in 2006 to illuminate the problem in schools and enhance prevention efforts. However, we still have a ways to go in zero tolerance in schools for bullying.
I would be presenting differently, asking for a shift in my own pronouns and silently requesting to be respected and recognized as male. And sure, everyone responded with an initial "okay," but who was really on my side?
When I recently asked a friend not to publicly post a picture of a Christian brother and me goofing off in which he puckered up and I leaned in and kissed him on his cheek, I had no idea how hurtful my request would be.
Gone are the days when American men and women could not serve their country openly as lesbians and gays. And gone are the days when the majority of Americans did not support fairness and equality for LGBT people.
You can be a trans ally in a lot of different ways; there is no one, fool-proof guide. I spent some time researching and putting my own experiences as an ally down into a list of 'bare minimum' criteria.
June is long gone, but pride is something to have year round. The fight for equality doesn't end, and as allies, we have to keep in mind how to best do our part. Allies are essential to any human rights movement, as they help bring more voices and momentum to the issue at hand.