How can I support my friend who is transgender?

37 Answers
Last Updated: 06/10/2019 at 9:48am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I am a psychodynamically trained clinical social worker. I find assisting women and families through difficult times an extremely rewarding and collaborative process.

Top Rated Answers
Anonymous
November 5th, 2014 8:43pm
Don't feel like you need to make a big deal out of it. Try your hardest to use their preferred pronouns and name if they've decided to change it, let them know that you're there if they want to talk about anything and let them know you support their decision, and there isn't much else you really need to do.
Erynn
December 24th, 2014 11:35pm
1) Truly honor their gender identity. Use their pronouns and whatever name they ask you to call them. 2) DO NOT out them. Ever. To anyone. Ask them how Out they are, and if there are specific people or places they are in the closet. They need to be able to choose who they are out to to be emotionally, physically, and economically safe. 3) Do some research! Learn what are common mistakes so that you can avoid them. Learn what people find supportive, so you can do that. If you want to be a Super Friend: 4) Learn about gender roles and expectations and stereotypes and start to understand the gender as a social construct. 5) Read books, watch videos and youtube clips, read blogs by people who are trans, and visit trans-related websites. The more and more you learn, the more you can communicate on a deep and compassionate and articulate level about gender, gender issues, and the many issues trans folk face. More than anything though - Just be their friend. They are who they were before they told you, but now they can be more authentic and open about themselves. Realize what an honor they have given you by coming out to you. :)
RebeccaH
December 29th, 2014 6:53am
Ask them. Your friend will tell you how you can best support them. It may start with using their preferred pronouns, or actively supporting their gender expression. It may also include going with them to LGBT or trans* support groups or clubs, or just being an advocate for them.
attainablehappiness
October 12th, 2015 3:30pm
Understanding. Usually, the reason for hate is ignorance. If you read up on transgender issues and how transgender people feel, you can start to be more empathetic and have discussions on transgender issues. Use the right pronouns, respect their wishes. If you recognize what body dysphoria and hate crimes against trans people are, it will help you support them ultimately :)
softWingedgiraffe33
November 11th, 2014 12:39am
A good resource is PFLAG and the Trevor Project, I believe both have resources for Allies :). Also, just be there for them!
MonBon
November 11th, 2014 3:56am
Treat them like you usually do; they're still a person. Try to use their preferred pronouns and treat them like they're your friend -- because they still are!
minervasarrowcomplex
December 21st, 2014 9:24am
Remind them that you love them for who they are, and how important it is for them to love themselves, too. If you are confused by their process, ask them questions about what they are feeling. There are great books available on the transgender experience, as well, such as Whipping Girl by Julia Serano. Reading books like these, and sharing them with your friend can be an enormous gesture.
Anonymous
June 7th, 2015 10:39am
Be there for them no matter what! As a trans, I can say that that is the biggest support I could ever have.
uniqueHeart20
August 10th, 2015 12:58am
A great way to support someone who is transgender is to use the proper pronouns and let them know that you will be there for them no matter what!
HelpingHand56
December 8th, 2015 1:37pm
well , understand them and their sitution , ask them what they like to be called and their prefered name . Dont ask them what makes them uncomfortable like what gender they were born as and like sugery and what not , chances are they may not even know , its kinda like a stranger coming up to you and asking where you live . get my point ? you have to be close to someone before they feel comfortable to anwser , for now just be there :)
Anonymous
December 12th, 2015 9:20pm
Honestly, let them know that you are there for them. Ask them how you could help. Very likely, there won't be any specific thing that they tell you. In which case, just love them and listen to them and be their friend like you've always been.
Gardeviola
November 7th, 2014 3:28pm
Just accept them for who they are. They are still a person, and please call them by what gender they identify by.
Emily717
November 12th, 2014 3:42pm
Ask your friend any questions you might have. It's better to ask and get answers than to assume anything. Just remember to be respectful.
Anonymous
November 16th, 2014 11:07pm
one great day to support them is to use their correct pronouns and always introduce them by using their correct pronouns. that will help with their gender dysforia
Anonymous
November 18th, 2014 3:53pm
You can support your friend who is transgender by being there to support them and listen and understand what they are going through in their time of need.
bunnyofdarkness
April 1st, 2015 3:35pm
I have a friend who is transgender, I think the best thing to do is just try to support their decision. Be there for them, talk about it if they want to talk about it. If you don't know how to treat them, or you feel maybe you should change your behaviour, ask them. It's probably better than you just trying to guess how they want you to behave.
mysteriousWillow50
April 10th, 2015 6:56pm
Simply tell your friend that you support their choices do dress/act/be as they feel they should be. Also be there to listen to them when they need someone to talk to. And most importantly, show that whether their being transgender is a new concept to you or something you've known about for a while that it doesn't affect the fact you still care about them as a person. Also, just my experience with transgendered friends, always refer to them with the pronoun (he/she or the male/femalename) of their preference/choosing.
manekineko11
May 4th, 2015 4:13pm
Ask them. No two people are the same. Some prefer active support and championing, others would rather you just keep treating them as you always have. Don't try to guess their feelings or desires. Just say "Hey, I know you're going through this and want you to know I'm here for you. What, if anything, would you like me to do to show my support?"
GoldenDragonEyes60
May 7th, 2015 4:23pm
Be there for them just like you would any other friend of yours. They're slightly different than other people, but deep down they're just like anyone else, that's the kind of treatment that they would deserve.
KatieKhaleesi
May 17th, 2015 9:34pm
You can listen to them and respectfully use whatever pronouns they wish. Do not try to tell them how they should feel but accept their feelings as valid. Treat them as you would treat anyone who may be struggling, and try to give them a sense of comfort/hope in relation to their situation.
HappyPlaces
May 28th, 2015 6:09pm
Just call them by their preferred pronouns, and treat them like they want to be treated, whether they're a trans* boy or trans* girl.
Anonymous
June 3rd, 2015 5:09am
help him feel proud of who he or she is. dont let them think they dont fit in because of who they are. help them gain self confidence and stand up for them.
Anonymous
July 27th, 2015 5:12pm
At first I have to say how happy I am about your wish to help. That's the first big step. I have a gay friend and years ago he came out. I wanted to support him, too. I think the way to help is somehow simmilar and one day he reflected our support. He told me, accepting him and treating him as a person, not a gay person, was very important to him. And the guarantee to know that there are people to depend on, still loving him, no matter what people say.
amazingHeart17
October 8th, 2015 3:07pm
All you have to do is let them know that you are here for them, offer help with anything they may need, and use the pronouns that they would prefer :)
Anonymous
September 12th, 2016 10:49am
Be there for them and support them throughout their struggles. That's the best you can do. Hope it goes well! :)
museofdreams
December 13th, 2016 6:15pm
Being transgender can be really hard, I'd definitely say be there as a friend; learn teminology so you know what's going on, do research into the different feelings or emotions they can have, and help try to get everyone to be supportive. One person advocating for them can make a world of a difference, but one important thing must be noticed... Use the right pronouns!!!
Maude221
January 30th, 2017 12:45am
Don't assume you know what the person's experience is. Be guided by what the person tells you about their own situation, and listen without preconceived notions. Treat transgender people the same. While they may appreciate your extra attention to them, they don't particularly appreciate you making a big deal of them. Be supportive. Those who have begun to express a gender different from the one assigned at birth are usually undergoing a major life changing event. Patience, understanding, and a willingness to discuss issues these changes will bring about will help them through a difficult and emotional time
TorynDeaux
February 21st, 2017 4:51am
Be understanding. Try to put yourself where they are at, but unless you have felt off in your own body, you won't understand. Give them advice on transitioning; proper binder usage, hormone and testosterone treatments. And just be there in general. If they have a preferred pronoun or name, use it and if you mess up and forget, apologize. Make sure you completely understand where they stand in their transitioning.
Anonymous
March 13th, 2017 3:39pm
You should foremost keep this in mind to call them by their preferred names. Secondly, you should use the right pronouns for them. Thirdly please correct anyone who isn't using the right name or pronoun. And lastly be there for them to lean on.
FriendlyIcecream99
March 16th, 2017 1:03am
Make sure you fully understand Transgender culture. This could really help your friend feel accepted