LGBT activism
5 min

Here’s a simple way to show respect for trans and non-binary folks

Lee Airton shows off the No Big Deal campaign badge at their office at Queen’s University in Kingston. Credit: Courtesy Lee Airton/No Big Deal campaign

This article stems from a partnership between Xtra Spark and the No Big Deal campaign in support of creating safer spaces for trans and gender non-conforming people. Learn more about how Xtra Spark supports activism in our communities here.

In June 2017, Bill C-16 extended federal legal protections to trans and gender non-conforming folks in Canada. It was a hard fought win for activists and certainly a reason to celebrate.

Yet, in spite of these new legal protections, trans and gender non-conforming people still experience high rates of violence and discrimination in Canada. According to the Trans Pulse Project, 20 percent of trans people living in Ontario reported being physically or sexually assaulted, and 34 percent were verbally threatened or harassed because they were trans.

Trans folks face acts of “everyday transphobia” too. These include deliberate misgendering, a lack of inclusive gender options on job application forms and safety issues in public washroom spaces. Ninety-six percent of trans folks have heard that “trans folks aren’t normal.”

Trans and gender non-conforming people in Canada today experience a wide array of discrimination, from overt acts of violence to subtle put downs. These can have a negative impact on people’s overall senses of well-being, health and safety.

But there’s something easy you can do right now to push back against this pervasive and harmful climate of transphobia. You can participate in the No Big Deal Campaign.

At the heart of the campaign is a simple yet powerful message conveyed on a badge that you can post, print or put up anywhere — “I’ll use your pronouns, it’s no big deal.

“What inspired me to create NBD were all of the people in my everyday life who just use my pronoun,” explains campaign founder Lee Airton. “It isn’t a debate, they aren’t necessarily experts on transgender people and issues, they might worry about making a mistake, but they try anyway.”

Incorporating the badge into your workspace, your home or on to your person is a way for you to signal to trans and non-binary folks that you will use their pronouns, which is a small but important gesture. This can be the first step to creating safer and healthier environments for trans and non-binary folks.

Here are a few fun ways we’ve incorporated it into the Pink Triangle Press offices.

Credit: Eric Wright/Xtra Spark
Credit: Eric Wright/Xtra Spark
Credit: Eric Wright/Xtra Spark

Here are a few actions you can take right now to participate in the No Big Deal campaign.

In taking these actions, you’ll be sending a powerful message to the trans and gender non-conforming folks in your life: I’ll use your pronouns, it’s no big deal. It might just be a big deal to them.