How to support young trans people

5 mins
14 Feb 2023
How to support young trans people

Here are ways you can step up for the trans community, whether it's through pledging your time or educating your circle

image Hollie Adams/Getty Images

words Megan Wallace

If you've been keeping up with the news, you'll know that it's a particularly troubling time for trans people in the UK. After the UK Government's decision to block Scotland's Gender Recognition Reform Bill (which would have made it easier for trans people in Scotland to access a Gender Recognition Certificate, which allows trans people to be referred to by the correct pronouns on marriage and death certificates) in early January, trans rights have come under increased backlash. In April, Women and Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published letters suggesting that "sex" in the 2010 Equalities Act should be defined as solely "biological sex" - a move that trans charities worried would lead to further exclusion of trans women from single-sex spaces.

The situation regarding trans rights in the UK is ever-evolving, with what seems like near-constant threats to the rights which trans people do have and vehement opposition to efforts to advance this, even in what seems like the smallest of ways. Amid this toxic environment, it's important for allies to trans and non-binary people to make their voices heard and find ways to show up for the community. Don't forget, even small actions of solidarity can make a difference.

With that in mind, we give details of how to support trans youth across the UK, whether through donation, education or other activism.

Donate or volunteer

Trans people in the UK are currently facing a particularly harsh media and political climate, with misinformation circulating unchecked as well as fierce opposition to efforts made to advance trans rights. Now, more than ever, it is important to support the organisations which work to challenge this hostile environment and provide life lines to trans youth and other members of the community.

Below, you can find details of organisations which work to help trans youth.

Gendered Intelligence: Founded in 2008, Gendered Intelligence is a registered charity that exists to increase understandings of gender diversity and improve trans people's quality of life. They work in policy and media spheres, as well as in professional environments and education, while providing youth services via support groups. You can donate here and learn more about volunteering here.

LGBT Youth Scotland: Aimed at the young LGBTQIA+ community, this charity runs youth groups for people aged 13 to 25 across Scotland, offers a live chat system with youth workers for digital support and offers inclusive classroom materials to help teachers support LGBTQIA+ youth. You can donate here and learn more about volunteering here.

Trans Aid Cymru: This mutual aid organisation is run by trans, intersex and non-binary people in Wales, for trans, intersex and non-binary people in Wales. They offer three different types of grants to the community (general assistance, emergency funds and fundraiser booster), run meet-ups in Cardiff and Newport, have collated a Wales trans-friendly GP map and also have resources such as help with creating fundraiser pages, information for parents and carers. You can donate here.

TransgenderNI: A human rights organisation for trans and gender diverse people which runs and provides funding for the Belfast Trans Resource Centre, the first and only trans community space in the UK and Ireland. You can donate here.

Educate yourself and those around you

One of the things which can make trans people's lives challenging is misinformation, which gives power to anti-trans organisations and politicians keen on turning people's lives into a culture war. The way to counteract this is by educating yourself and spreading the word. Rather than restricting conversations about trans rights to circles where you know individuals are of agreement, it's important to clearly and simply relay the facts to family members or people in your community who don't already hold these views.

Obviously, a way to start this journey involves reading (though many resources will also be available on audiobook) and for these purposes it can help to lead with practical, fact-based books rather than theoretical ones:

The Transgender Issue: Written by Shon Faye, this comprehensive look at trans rights in the UK aligns the movement with other leftist movements and offers easy and convincing rebuttals to common anti-trans arguments particularly around issues such as trans people in prisons.

Trans Britain: This collection of essays follows the creation of the contemporary trans community we can see today. It's a good starter place to contest the notion that trans and gender diverse identities are new or a trend, which is often used to invalidate calls for equality.

If you want to develop your own understanding of trans perspectives and thought, you may want to read books from the likes of Travis Alabanza (None of the Above) and Andrea Long Chu (Females), as well as the scholarship of academics like Susan Stryker.

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Push for reform

This final point is a lot less clear-cut and a lot harder than simply reading a book. However, it's vital to know that you can help the fight for change and contribute to the movement for trans rights and for and end to hostility against trans people.

It's important to firstly understand some of the problems which trans and gender diverse people, of all ages, are fighting against. This includes disproportionately long waiting lists for accessing gender-affirming care such as hormone therapy, as well as a complicated bureaucracy which makes it difficult to obtain a GRC. Then there are issues such as workplace discrimination and hate crime.

Some of these topics can be resolved through tangible changes such as increased funding or changes to laws. In these instances, you can get involved in protests in your local area as well as writing to your MP as part of letter-writing campaigns or responding to public consultations on trans issues with your support.

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