How to Become More Trans Affirming

It is essential for Pride Institute to be transgender affirming. As a helping ‘primer’ our Assistant Director of Clinical Services, Beck Gee,  has started to create “tips” in order to train/teach others in the work environment how to become more Trans affirming.

Tip #1:

Issue: The use quotations around someone’s identified name on paperwork, files, etc. who is identifying as transgender.

Why is it an issue?: When using quotations around someone’s identified name, it reads to people as:  “this name is not valid”. This is not trans affirming and we need to be trans affirming in ALL our work.

Resolution: There are a couple ways to write someone’s legal name and chosen name in documentation. Here is an example using a legal and identified name…

Jon (Julie) Parker          or       Identified Name: Jon Parker

Legal Name: Julie Parker

This is NOT for morning check-in sheets. On those sheets we should be using the client’s identified name.

These little things make a HUGE difference

Tip #2:

Issue: Addressing individuals by proper pronouns at all times.

Why it’s an issue?: We live in a world of stereotypes. Women and Men alike struggle to live up to the societal expectations of what a “real” woman or a “real” man looks like. Eating disorders are directly correlated with media and the expectations placed on individuals to be “attractive” to the opposite or same sex. We see this happen in addiction treatment as well… many gay men use methamphetamine to “look more attractive”.

So what does this have to do with the trans community?

Many things.

Our ideas of what a “man” or a “woman” should look like can hinder our ability to be trans affirming. The idea of “passing” as a man or a woman can be of great distress for trans people. It could also be a stress to those who do not want to be connected to the gender binary.

Some people have short hair, some people have long hair, some people have facial hair, some people wear makeup. We cannot identify a person’s gender by their expression or by their natal sex. Clothing has no gender. How I express myself as an individual is just that, an individual. The only person that can express their gender (or non gender) is the individual person.

So when a person asks you to use specific pronouns (he, she, they, phe, xe, hir, etc…) then please use those pronouns when addressing that client AT ALL TIMES. We need to be trans affirming in all of our work. And remember, not all people fit into the “gender norms” that you are used to.


  1. Do Use Proper Pronouns.
  2. Don’t Assume a persons’ gender because they “look like” a man or woman.
  3. Don’t Assume that everyone wants to live in gender norms that society has created.

If your facility or institution has a need for training in this area, please give our Director of Business Development, Molly, a call/email: 612.267.9371 or [email protected]

We’d love to help!