I’ve been working on some guidelines to help allies think through questions that are okay to ask. Here’s what I’ve come up with and I would love folks’ thoughts (this is trans* specific language but I would hope that it could be more broadly applicable):
I would put questions into two camps:
1: Questions about issues trans* people face. I think these questions are important and help people to be a better ally. I can talk about job discrimination, access to medical care, etc.
2: Questions about the specific medical process. Unless you are planning to either date me, sleep with me, or transition yourself you probably don’t need to ask someone these questions. (also, can you google it? If so, that’s probably the best place to start.) It is most often the questions about medical processes, surgeries, and my body that I find the most invasive and othering.
And I have three rules:
1: Do I need to know this in order to effectively work in solidarity with people? (ask the question)
2: Am I asking this simply because I am curious? (don’t ask the question)
3: Can I find this information out somewhere else (google, book, blog)?
What do you think? Are there more guidelines you’d add? Things you don’t agree with? Let’s hear it!