Transcaster Radio: How to support a transgender friend

When a close friend or family member tells you they are transgender or trans, you might feel clueless about how to show your support. Understanding how to be a good ally can be hard, especially if you struggle with grasping what they’re going through. Some ways to be a supportive ally are easy and don’t require much effort, while others require more energy and time. 

If a person in your life has recently told you they’re trans, then chances are you’re looking for tips on how to properly show your support. Check out the guide below on how you can help make the world a better place for transgender people:

Listen closely

There’s a common misconception in the United States that all trans people share the same story. You may believe that they have gone through the same experiences so you probably know how to deal with things. However, this is not entirely true. Keep in mind that every trans person has a different experience of transition and gender. So when they share their stories with you, hold them close to your heart. Consider it as a gift.

Listen closely. The worst mistake you can make is invalidating who they are because it doesn’t exactly fit your idea of being a trans. Their experience might be entirely different from another trans person you know, so tread carefully. Remember, there is no ‘right’ way to be trans. 

You don’t have to understand their identity to respect it

No doubt understanding trans identities may feel overwhelming at times, especially when you’re bombarded with jargon you barely comprehend. You’d be in situations where you can’t truly understand what it means to be trans, and that’s okay. Bear in mind that the people whose identities you don’t fully grasp deserve respect and acceptance.

You can also do some research to improve your knowledge of trans identities in general. There are lots of resources available online and video blogs posted by trans activists to raise awareness of their experiences. 

Be an active ally

If you’re watching the news, then you know that trans people in the United States constantly face discrimination and oppression from schools, employers, families and medical providers. That’s why one of the best ways to support a trans person is to be an active ally of their movement.

This can mean that you join protests and rallies in the United States in support of trans rights or share Facebook posts to raise awareness of the harmful effects of transphobia. Being an active ally also means that you call out someone for using the wrong pronoun or name, or tell them that a harmless joke about trans is more damaging than they think.

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