Imagine this. You have a colleague at work that asks to speak with you. They have something they want to tell you. Something that you need to know about them. Alone together, they tell you they are transgender and are going to transition.
When someone comes out to you as Transgender – how do you respond?
Below you will find 3 things to be aware of AND 10 things you can do to support a Trans person – both at work and at home.
Here are the 3 things to be aware of.
Firstly, consider all those years they have been dealing with gender dysphoria, confusion, distress, turmoil, trauma of going through the ‘wrong’ puberty, isolation, keeping a secret and pretending to be someone else – so they can be accepted.
Next, bear in mind that coming out is not a thing to be taken lightly. That moment of coming out is a sacred one. This is not a phase they are going through. This is the result of many sleepless nights and years of confusion, turmoil, distress, struggle and anxiety. That moment with you is the culmination of many hours of deliberating the exact words to use, the appropriate timing and potential reactions. When someone ‘officially’ comes out they are not saying those words for the first time. They have practised for months, maybe years, worried about the reaction they might receive.
And finally, they have a million and one thoughts and fears running through their head right now. The fear of being rejected or being accepted and the impact it will have on their relationships (including yours). Fear of violence, prejudice, judgements and discrimination. Anxiety about ‘passing’ and how convincing they will be to others. Fears and concerns about the medical interventions that lie ahead. The frustration of changing legal documents and having to explain to many strangers their situation so they can successfully transition.
How can you support them?
Here are 10 things you can do to support a Trans person – both at work and at home.
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.
You are about to get to know the real and true person that has been bursting to free themselves!