As of August 7th, at least 28 trans folks have been murdered in 2021 to date. That number already surpasses 2021's total, which clearly indicates that anger towards the transgender community is only rising. While it shouldn't be transgender folks' job to fight this issue alone, many “allies” towards the LGBTQ community don't seem very interested in educating themselves and working towards change. 

One way to stop hatred is by removing harmful language out of your vernacular. So if you're really interested in supporting the transgender community, listed here are six phrases that you should stop using when conversing to a trans person.

1. “What is your “real/old” name?” 

We call it a deadname for a reason – it is a name we no longer require to use. There is a reason why trans folks will often change their names once they transition, so refrain from asking a trans person about their deadname. 

2. “Have you had the surgery?” 

There are two ways I respond to this question: “Which one?” and “None of your business!” Many people do not understand the expansive amount of surgeries trans folks may or may not choose to get. As some may be surprised, a lot of trans people decide to not undergo surgery since it is either too expensive or just not something they think compelled to do., When you ask a trans person about surgery, you aren't only perpetuating the idea that trans people must undergo surgery to transition, but you're also tackling a very personal and question.

3. “Wow, I never would have thought you had been transgender! You're so pretty/handsome!” 

If you ask this, I think you need to be asking yourself “Why do I think trans people aren't attractive?” There's already a lot of pressure on trans folks to be able to “pass” in society, so don't support this ideal. Trans folks will be praised when they appear as hyperfemme or hypermasc, and in some cases that's the way they need to present themselves to stay safe. But as true allies, it's important to celebrate those that would rather become more fluid in their gender presentation. 

4. “You look as being a real man/woman!”

Listen, I'm already a genuine person, even though I wish I was a cryptid. Although associating terms like “pretty” and “handsome” to individuals is bad enough, saying things like “you look like a real man” is extremely dangerous because it promotes the idea that trans folks aren't real men or women because of their gender expression and/or their factory installed” parts. Actually, this type of thinking dehumanizes the trans community and creates dangerous situations. 

5. “Maybe you should try wearing [this], it'll help you pass better.” 

Why is there this type of push for trans folks to “pass” in their gender expression? It is not a trans person's job to appear like the cisnormative idea of a man or perhaps a woman that you support. Instead, it's more important for a transgender individual to feel comfortable in their skin – so if you feel a true ally then you should be willing to help your trans loved ones understand themselves. Instead of offering suggestions on how a transgender individual can “pass,” allies will easily notice them what jeans make their ass look curvy or what tops make their chests look boxy. 

6. “You're so brave.” 

God, we all know. This one is the most annoying and frustrating, by far. There needs to be a normalization of trans folks, no idolization. This phrase puts trans people on the pedestal – and I'm absolutely tired of it. Instead of idolizing and isolating the trans community, we have to normalize it! So rather than fawning over your trans friends, just let them know how much you appreciate their friendship.

Some trans folks are comfortable with these types of questions and phrases, however most are not. So err along the side of caution unless you know for a fact that your trans friend or family member is comfortable with one of these questions or comments. 

By and enormous, the trans community remains the target of several hate crimes on a regular basis. But we can't change the world on our own. As allies, you should use your privilege to create a safer space for the trans siblings by taking these tips to heart. By respecting trans people and educating yourself, you can help us gradually create a more trans-friendly society.