This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. Learn more

How to be a Trans Friend and Ally

By Megan, GSK R&D, Innovation Tech Manager, and member of the GSK Spectrum LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group, Leadership Team.


As an out transgender woman I’m often asked how others can support the trans community and help it overcome historical biases.


You might know a trans person, you might not, or you might and just don’t know it yet. In this article, I want to focus on this third scenario.


I was in my late thirties when I started to accept my true self and began the process of finally sharing that with others. Friends and family had absolutely no idea, I had kept myself firmly in the closet for at least two decades. A 2016 survey by an online dating site suggested that among the LGBTQ+ community, trans people wait the longest between realising their identity and coming out. That intervening time can be one plagued with fear, concern, uncertainty and anxiety. The support of a friend and ally can be invaluable during this period, so here’s a few simple things you could do to make a positive difference.

  1. Talk openly about diversity, in all its forms. We inhabit a diverse planet, with a diverse ecosystem and many diverse lifeforms, but we’re all pieces of the same jigsaw. Talking in an open-minded and positive manner about the importance of diversity reassures others that you will view them as valued, regardless of their gender identity.
  2. Normalise gender identities. Societies broadly structure themselves around a fixed and binary gender model, but minority identities do exist. You can share or ‘like’ positive articles, educational resources and news that covers or includes minority gender identities like genderfluid, agender, bigender and transgender; this raises awareness and understanding. 
  3. Be inclusive in your language. By respecting and using people’s pronouns and communicating your own, you’re sending out a visible sign that they are as important to you as they are to others. My pronouns are ‘she/her'. 
  4. Challenge yourself to learn more. The LGBTQ+ community – like any community - has its own language, terms and acronyms. Learning just a few of these will help you feel more comfortable and be more able to support others.
  5. Be ready! Someday a friend or family member might come out to you. You may be surprised; they may be nervous. Firstly, thank them for trusting you with this information. Secondly, reassure them that if they are still not out publicly, that you fully respect their right to privacy. Thirdly, remember they haven’t changed – they are still the same person, you just know them better. 


If you can do these five simple and easy things you might just make a huge and positive difference in someone’s life!


Every year March 31st marks International Day of Transgender Visibility, but transgender people exist and live their lives three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. Celebrate their existence and the diversity they bring to the world.


Sign up now to join myGwork on Trans Day of Visibility on 31st March at 4:00pm.


This is a personal article and is not published on behalf of GSK


GSK is committed to fair, equal employment opportunity and inclusion of all employees regardless of race/ ethnicity/ national origin, gender/gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, religion/ belief, marriage/ civil partnership status, age and/or socioeconomic status.  

Share this

myGwork is best used with the app