Being Supportive – First in a short series

I think we all appreciate support in whatever we are trying to do. A lot of what I’m going to say is really general, but some of the circumstances are particular to trans people. I’m sure you can tell the difference.

This is a short series about things you can do, and shouldn’t do to support your trans friend or relative. All this is, of course just my opinion.

I’m breaking it down to a series because as I started writing one long post I realized nobody would read that much.

Be a good listener

This goes for lots of things. When someone has a problem, the first thing they need to do is to empty their troubles and angst. Listen and listen some more. On occasion ask a question that lets them know they are being heard. “So, what did Jeff say to your friends?” or “How are you feeling about someone calling you a tranny?” or “It must hurt to have your Uncle Charlie not return your phone calls” and then listen some more.

Give suggestions when they ask for them. The best kind of suggestion is one that helps them find the right conclusion themselves, but that isn’t always possible. If you do have to direct them, be sensitive to their reaction. Always leave them in control rather than telling them what to do. If you’ve experienced something similar you can tell your story and ask if they think they might do something similar. There are lots of options.

Compassion and Comfort

Sometimes all you can do is to be their for someone. Sometimes you can’t make the hurt go away or the problem become less complicated or the people involved reconcile. In fact, that may be most of the time with trans issues.

Provide compassion, a warm heart and open arms. This above all else will help the person you want to help.

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