News Article


Transgender Awareness Week

Happy Transgender Awareness Week!

Transgender Awareness Week takes place every year, and is an opportunity for us to highlight and boost the visibility of the transgender community. Taking place from the 13th – 19th November, the week finishes with Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), which takes place on the 20th November.

More updates on what will be happening for TDOR will be shared on RUSU’s social media.

Your RUSU Trans Officer, Lennox Bruwer, has put together the following helpful guides for both transgender students and allies alike. If you want to get in touch with Lennox, you can find out a bit more about them on their webpage.

*IMPORTANT. Due to issues with the Trans Officer email account, we recommend contacting Lennox via their Facebook page.*

Transgender terminology

There are a number of terms that are used within the transgender community – many of which may be new to you! Here is a guide to some terminology commonly used:

  • Gender identity: A way to describe how you feel about your gender
  • Gender binary: The idea that there are two genders: male and female
  • Assigned gender at birth: Designated gender based on sex characteristics
  • Cisgender: Someone who identifies with their assigned gender
  • Transgender: Someone whose gender identity does not align with their assigned gender
  • Nonbinary: A gender identity that exists outside of the binary of male/female
  • Pronouns: The words we use to refer to ourselves and others (I, you, we, he, she, they, etc)
  • Gender dysphoria: Discomfort with the incongruence between a person's body and gender identity


How to be an ally

Here are some general tips on how to be an ally to transgender, nonbinary and gender non-conforming people

  • Educate yourself on transgender issues.
  • If you don't know someone's pronouns - ask them!
  • Include your pronouns in your email signature - this normalises when trans people do so.
  • Don't expose someone's identity if they are not out of the closet.
  • Speak out. If you witness someone using the wrong name or pronouns for someone (who is open about their transgender identity), correct them.


Someone I know has come out as transgender, how do I support them?

  • Thank them for trusting you with this information.
  • Ask (when safe to do so):
    What name and pronouns do you use?
    Who can I use these pronouns/name in front of (if anyone)?
    How can I support you?
  • Understand that this can be a very complicated time. They might not have all the answers, and some things may change, such as finding the right name.
  • Stand by them:
    Many trans people face ostracism from their community when coming out.
    Just by standing by them and being supportive, you can make a world of difference.
  • Offer to help - they might be struggling with some of the following:
    Doctors’ appointments
    Filling out forms
    Coming out to friends and family


Resources and charities:

Have any questions? Send them to RUSU's Trans Students' Officer! And you can join RUSU’s LGBTQ+ Facebook community – a safe space for likeminded individuals to connect and network.