Have you recently had a friend or family member come out to you as transgender or non-binary? If so, you should feel good knowing they trusted you enough to tell you this information. Coming out as transgender, non-binary, or anywhere on this spectrum can be very stressful, and it’s not something to take lightly.
If you don’t know any other people who are part of this community, you may have questions about what to do next. You may worry about things like how to remember their new name or what to say. Even if you want to be supportive, you might wonder what this means for your loved one, what it means for your relationship, and what you should do to support them.
You’ve Already Taken The First Step In Showing Support
Luckily, many people have been in your shoes before, and there are many excellent resources out there to assist you and your loved one in this process. While it’s essential to seek advice from many sources and experts, this guide is here to help you in this journey and point you in the right direction.
Let’s start with some tips on supporting your family member or friend after they come out to you as transgender or non-binary.
Tip 1: Be Respectful When Asking Questions
When a family member or friend comes out to you, it’s natural to have questions or feel curious. While you don’t have to keep all these inquiries to yourself, remember to be respectful. Depending on the level of closeness you have with this individual, they may be more open to answering your questions, or they may not want to.
First and foremost, ask them what their comfort level is and go from there. Remember that asking invasive questions about things like hormones, body parts, and more isn’t always welcome.
Tip 2: Show You Care By Researching
Most people don’t expect their loved ones to know everything about being transgender or non-binary right away. So, if you don’t know much, don’t worry. You don’t have to be an expert to show your support. Instead, show you care through research. Find established, trusted organizations with existing resources and learn what you can about these communities. If you do this, your loved one will feel safe knowing you’re willing to do the work to understand them.
Tip 3: Process Your Emotions In A Healthy Way
Even if you have the best intentions, you may experience negative emotions after your loved one comes out to you. This reaction is especially common and understandable for parents and guardians. You may feel surprised by this news or react from an emotional place. However, it’s best to process these feelings away from your loved one. If you expect them to work through all of your negative emotions with you, this can create resentment.
Instead, find support groups for others in your position. Or, consider reaching out to a therapist to get your own mental health support. This way, you can healthily process your feelings without damaging the relationship.
Tip 4: Express Your Love And Support
Finally, one of the most important things you can do after someone comes out to you is to show love and support. Remind your loved one that you care about them no matter what and that you are here for them. Showing this love is essential when they come out to you and over time.
Having supportive loved ones is vital for the overall health and happiness of LGBTQIA+ individuals. So, if you have that love and care, you’re already off to a great start.