Trump Is Trying To Define Gender, So Here’s How To Be A Better Ally

Published on October 27, 2018

Yes. It’s 2018 and we’re really publishing this article.

The New York Times revealed this week that the Trump Administration is focusing on creating a legal definition of gender according to a binary standard. The move aims to erase rights for transgender and nonbinary Americans. Under the efforts, basic civil rights—such as access to healthcare and equal opportunity—would not exist for anyone not falling into heteronormative identities. This move would reverse laws set in place by Barack Obama to make it easier for trans and nonbinary people to access things like healthcare and education programs that would otherwise be gendered.

Since the announcement, protesters have gathered around the country to voice their outrage. The administration wrote in a memo that the move would involve legally defining gender based on biology, with genetic testing to confirm. Critics have called the move an attack on basic human rights.

What can you do right now to be a better ally if you don’t personally identify? Here’s five things:

Take Some Time to Learn:

Afraid of saying the wrong thing? The easiest way to avoid doing that is to spend a few minutes learning about proper terminology regarding trans people. There’s a TON of free and easily accessible information online these days so there really is no excuse to be using offensive language. Diversify your social media timelines by following trans and nonbinary accounts that pique your interests. Once you put even a little bit of effort into learning about and understanding different identities it opens up a whole world of new ideas and points of view. Here is a great starter guide to learning your terms.

Understand Gender is Personal:

Just because you feel confident about telling people what your gender identity is doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same way. Gender, just like sexuality, is a super personal subject that not everyone wants the world to know. If someone you know confides in your that they’re trans or nonbinary, don’t repeat it without their explicit consent. Violent crimes against transgender people are rampant, so you may be putting a life at risk by exposing someone as trans. At the very least, though, it isn’t your place to out someone that may not be ready.

Support Trans & Nonbinary Artists:

Hey, if the Trump Administration takes away basic civil rights for trans and nonbinary people it’s going to mean that their access to healthcare just got a lot harder. If there’s an artist or creator that you know and like don’t hesitate to buy or promote their work. If you don’t currently know or follow any trans or nonbinary artists, here’s some good ones! You can also feel free to donate to organizations that want to help give healthcare access to transgender people. Wikipedia has organized a nice list of ones to choose from.


Sick of hearing about how politicians are making life harder for—um, everyone? The best thing you can do to change that is to make sure those people don’t have a job that gives them that much power. The midterm elections are coming up quick, but you still have time to research everything you need to know in order to be a well-informed voter. Vote for people that believe in equal human rights. Uber is even giving away free rides to the polls on election day, so there’s no excuse to not vote if you can.

Put Your Pronouns In Your Profile:

Ever notice that some people specify in their Instagram or Twitter bio that they want to be referred to as he, her or they/them in conversation? You don’t have to be transgender or nonbinary to do that too. It’s a really easy way to normalize conversations surrounding gender and contribute to the idea that gender identity isn’t something tied to a certain look. When cisgendered people name their pronouns, it makes it a lot less weird for transgender or nonbinary people to do it too. It also shows that you stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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