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When a friend tells you that they are transitioning, it can be difficult to know what the right thing is to say. You may wonder how you can support them through this time.
It is important to remember that transitioning can be a hugely emotional time and it is important that, as a friend, you are able to give them the support they need to help them through it. Many of us can feel confused about how we can support our friends but fortunately, there is some advice that you can try to take on board to help make the process easier.
Listen And Use Their Language
When your friend tells you about their transition it is hugely important that you listen closely to their story and take in what they have to say. After all, they are trusting you with this personal information so you should feel proud that they feel comfortable enough to tell you. Listen closely to the language your friend uses as most trans people may have a preferred pronoun. Your friend may choose to change their name, and this could take multiple changes until they find the right one. Always make an effort to call them by their new name as it helps to show your respect towards this time of change.
Support Them Every Step of The Way
Transitioning is a process full of emotion. One minute it’s exciting then the next it can feel stressful. As a friend, it is hugely important to be as supportive as possible. Whether that be after your friend’s transgender hair transplant or shopping with them to build a wardrobe that represents who they are. There are many steps to transitioning and each one is as important as the next. Be the friend that offers to go shopping with them and always be positive surrounding more daunting times, like surgery, as this can give your friend a huge amount of reassurance at a time when they truly need support from those around them.
Research To Better Your Understanding
It is likely that your friend isn’t expecting you to fully understand the whole transitioning process straight away. But, to show your care and support, a little research can go a long way and can help to show your friend that you want to understand what they are going through. There are plenty of online forums which can give you advice on how to support your friend in the best way possible and you can even use it to help them through different stages of their transition.
Acknowledge Your Mistakes
Learning about gender transitioning is a process and there will be instances where you may misgender your friend or forget to use their correct pronouns. Taking accountability for this is hugely important. You may trigger a negative reaction but try not to take offence to this and instead show that you are learning and apologise for any mistakes that you may have made. You are only human after all, and your friend will understand if you handle it in the correct way.