Recently, Allison Young, MD and Kaitlin Sullivan at Everyday Health set out to offer some advice on ways to support those who just came out as trans. They shared that for queer people who are transitioning — which can mean many things — getting support throughout their lives is critical, especially specific inflection points of transitioning. The authors spoke with José A. Romero, the director of community advocacy, research, and education for the Pride Foundation in Washington and Corinne Votaw, PsyD, a psychologist and gender diversity advocate based in Denver. Their advice is summarized below, and can be read in full at https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/ways-to-support-a-friend-whos-transitioning/
- Respect Their Identity: Romero says that the first thing you can do is believe them. When they tell you they are becoming who they truly are, respect their identity as their truth. “Trust the person who is transitioning. Believe that person. There are going to be a lot of people who do not,” says Romero, who is nonbinary.
- Learn About the Trans Community: If you don’t know where to turn first, Romero suggests that people reach out to education-focused LGBTQ+ organizations such as the Pride Foundation. Romero also recommends looking through the Digital Transgender Archive for historical information and resources on transgender folks.
- Decide What Kind of Support You’re Willing to Offer: Your role as the friend of a person transitioning may be decided by that person, but there are some considerations you need to contemplate yourself, Romero says. He says to ask whether you are willing to drive your friend to another state to support their physical transition. Are you willing to donate money or meet with legislators? Decide what it is and commit.
- Don’t Over Apologize if You Make a Mistake: Each person has their own preference for how they’d like to transition socially, which includes that person’s name and pronouns. Ask — never assume — what they’d like to be called. Then do your best to incorporate those choices into your vocabulary. Be sensitive, acknowledge your mistake, move on, and work to adopt the person’s true name and pronouns into your language.
- Drive Change: Supporting a friend who is transitioning often doesn’t just involve being there for that person one on one. It can also take the form of working to create a safe, supportive environment for queer and transgender people. This will depend on where you live and who you are, but driving change should start by looking at your own life and beliefs. “What’s important, more than external advocacy on behalf of whatever counterpart they came out to, is a period of reflection of what you do that might be harming the trans or gender nonbinary community,” Votaw says. “Start to look into your own life and look at what is not in harmony with being a supporter or family member or friend or even coworker.”
Read the full article at https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/ways-to-support-a-friend-whos-transitioning/