Did you know we have a name for the significant others, family, friends and allies of the trans* community? It’sSOFFA!
Here are some general things that I think the trans* community would like you to know:
-we’re still the exact same person as we were before we came out, you’re not going to lose a child/parent/partner/friend etc, you’ll just talk about us differently, and we may look different. But we’re not a different person.
-we understand it will take time to get used to, and you may mess up sometimes, but as long as you’re trying and learning, that’s what matters!
-please don’t go on a wailing spree when you make a mistake; it’s okay, just say a quick sorry, correct yourself, and move on
-your support and effort means the world to us!
-don’t assume that we will feel/want the same things as what you may have seen in media, we’re still our own person and everyone’s journey will be different: ask, don’t assume
-in addition to the above: just because we’re trans* does not automatically mean we want to transition. Every person is different, and so it’s best to listen to us and what we want for ourselves.
-our gender does not impact our sexuality (although, for example, someone who identified as gay before coming out may be more comfortable with lesbian now, if they are coming out as a girl). But just the fact of being trans* does not mean we are automatically gay/bi/etc.
-we may not be entirely sure of our gender, and we may change in how we identify, but it doesn’t make our current feelings any less important or valid.
-it’s okay to feel sad, upset, or like you’re losing something. Any life change can make someone feel this way, and it’s normal to feel these things as you’re getting used to something new. As long as you understand that we’re still here, we’re still the same, and we still love you, that’s what matters.
-just the same, it’s okay if your initial reaction is to feel ashamed, or mad, or guilty. It’s what you do after those feelings that counts. You’re not a bad person if you have a difficult time processing, but if you choose to never work on those feelings and to just throw hatred and blame our way, that’s when it’s bad.
-you may face some challenges yourself because you are associated with us (such as insults from those who are transphobic), please know that we wish that it didn’t happen and we absolutely do not mean to hurt anyone by just being ourselves. It’s easy to place blame on us, but really it’s a problem with those who are unaccepting and hateful. It can be difficult for us, so of course it can be difficult for you too.
-there was nothing that caused us to be the gender we are. There was no ‘failure’ on your part, it’s not from anything we were exposed to, it’s just who we are.
-there is no correct age where we should know or can know our gender. Every person is different, and it doesn’t make us any less valid. We can know when we’re 5, or we can figure it out when we’re 50.
-please don’t treat us differently after we’ve come out, that’s a big fear for many of us, that once we finally get ourselves to come out, we will never be treated the same. But we are the same, and we should be treated the same (just, with some small changes in language )
-for our partners: our gender does not change your sexual orientation. If learning of our gender leads to you re-evaluating how you define your sexuality, then that’s okay! Or, if you are comfortable with how you identify, then you don’t need to change it! It’s perfectly okay to still identify as a lesbian, while your partner is nonbinary (as long as you are still respecting their identity! This means using the term that you both agree on, whether they would prefer “partner”, or if they are still okay with “girlfriend”, etc)
-for our children: some trans* parents may choose to keep the mom/dad label, but change their pronouns. So, it’s okay if you find yourself saying “I love my dad, she’s the best!” and that will just be up to what you and your parent decide is best.
-Bottom line: when in doubt, ask! (privately, of course )
How to be supportive of us:
-use the right pronouns, name, and reference (eg daughter vs son vs child)
-don’t out us without our permission
-please don’t qualify us as trans/non-binary/etc unless we specifically say it’s okay to (eg. You wouldn’t say “this is my female daughter” so don’t say “this is my transgender daughter”!)
Of course biiiig shoutout to @RaCat for coming up with the idea and giving me something to contribute~
And of course, some resources because who doesn't love them all clickable