Texas Tech University

Basics of Allyship

What if I accidentally misgender/deadname someone?

Misgendering: Using the incorrect pronouns for someone.

Deadnaming: Using the incorrect name for someone, usually the name they were given at birth.

Three speech bubbles with the words "Acknowledge," "Correct," and "Change" inside.

  • Acknowledge. Recognize that you made a mistake. The apology for this can be quick and simple! Over-apologizing can feel performative and places responsibility on the person who was misgendered/deadnamed.
  • Correct. When you catch your mistake, correct yourself! In the moment, an interaction could look like: "So she...sorry, they, will be taking care of that." If you don't catch yourself in the moment, that's okay! Sometimes it takes time to change our language. However, you always need to remember to...
  • Change. If you continue making the same mistake multiple times, and don't make effort to change your language, that's when a mistake becomes a microaggression. Remember, if you make a mistake, make an effort to make sure the same mistake doesn't happen again.

How do I support my friends/students?

  • Speak up, not over. As also discussed in Coming Out, as an ally you can speak up, but not over the LGBTQIA community. One of the best things you can do is uplift and promote LGBTQIA voices, as well as affirm support for the community. Lead by example for people who are not yet allies.
  • Check in. Many of the LGBTQIA community choose to visibly have pride in who they are, and this can be both empowering and terrifying. As a price for being more visible, they might also experience more microaggressions and threats. People who are trans or gender non-conforming are usually some of the most visible. Check in with your friends/students, make sure they are doing okay, and be supportive if they need to talk about what they face.
  • Educate yourself. There are many resources to educate yourself on gender/sexuality identities, issues, and community safe places. This includes our pages on Identity Umbrellas, Coming Out, Avenues of Attraction, and the Gender Unicorn.  The responsibility for seeking out education is on the ally, not the member of the LGBTQIA community. The Office of LGBTQIA Education and Engagement offers an Allyship Series every fall and spring semester. Faculty, staff, and organizations can also request trainings under Request a Guest Speaker. We also have multiple events that go on throughout the semester, such as our Trans Day of Visibility Monologue Event.