3 Things NOT To Say To A Trans Person
by Gina Battye © 2018 What's On Queer BC
When someone comes out to you as being transgender here is what not to say and also what you can do to support your transgender friend or family member.
There are 3 things you can say that can potentially cause offense.
Never refer to being transgender as ‘a choice.’ Being transgender is not a choice. You wouldn’t choose to undergo gender reassignment surgery and the years of anxiety and distress that arises whilst you await your surgery. You wouldn’t choose to live your life in a way that risked you facing daily abuse, discrimination and prejudice. Coming out as transgender, transitioning and worrying about ‘passing’ everyday, that isn’t a choice.
Don’t use the incorrect pronouns. Rather than worry about saying the wrong thing or avoiding the person to be sure you don’t ‘get it wrong’ – ask them what pronouns to use and when they want to start using them.
Don’t ask insensitive questions. Questions about genitals, lower surgery and sexual preferences are definite no-go conversations. Respect that.
How To Support A Trans Person When Transitioning
Congratulate them and acknowledge their courage. It is a significant moment for them to have a conversation with you about it.
Talk to them about it. Find out more about their journey and the path they want to go down for their transition. Every individual’s transition is different.
Ask what their concerns are and how you can support them. Let them know you are there for them and if they want to talk about anything, the door is always open.
If you have any questions, ask them. Ask about pronouns, their name and when they want to start using their choice of pronouns and name. Stay clear of personal, intimate and inappropriate questions.
Be ‘normal’ with them. There is no need to change your behaviour or the way you talk to them.
If someone has come out to you, that doesn’t mean they are ready to come out to everyone.
Don’t ‘out’ them to others or share information they have told you in confidence. Let them be the one to tell who they choose to tell and when they are ready.
Remember, coming out and transitioning is a big step for an individual.
When transitioning there are lots of decisions to make. This can be stressful for the individual but it can also be very exciting for them as they are able to act and move towards a more authentic self. No more hiding and pretending to be someone they are not.
Congratulations! You are about to get to know the real and true person that has been bursting to free themselves!
Described as “The Best of Louise Hay and Ellen DeGeneres” Gina Battye is a passionate knowledgeable renowned LGBT coach and speaker, who delivers unique, powerful, heartfelt 121 coaching and corporate training worldwide, creating breakthroughs every day for the LGBT community, on a global scale.
Find her at www.ginabattye.com and chat with her on Facebook and Instagram.