Transgender Awareness Week 2018

So... one of your family members or a friend have "Come out".

If someone who is coming out feels close enough to you and trusts you sufficiently to be honest and risk losing you as a friend. It can be difficult to know what to say and what to do to be a supportive friend to someone who has “come out” to you. Below are some suggestions you may wish to follow.

  • Thank the person for having the courage to tell you. Choosing to tell you means that they have a great deal of respect and trust for you.

  • Don’t judge them. If you have strong religious or other beliefs about LGBTQ+ communities, keep them to yourself for now. There will be plenty of time in the future for you to think and talk about your beliefs in light of your friend’s identity.

  • Respect their confidentiality. Allow them the integrity to share what they want, when and how they want to.

  • Tell them that you care about them, no matter what. Be the friend you have always been. The main fear for people coming out is that their friends and family will reject them.

  • Don’t be too serious. Sensitively worded humor may ease the tension you are both probably feeling.

  • Ask questions you may have, but understand that they may not have all the answers. You can save some questions for later or, better yet, you can find some of the answers together.

  • Include their partner in plans as much as you would with any other anyone else.

  • Be prepared to include them in more of your plans. They may have lost the support of other friends and family, and your time and friendship will be even more precious to them. This may include “family” times like holidays or special celebrations.

  • Offer and be available to support as they come out to others.

  • Call frequently during the time right after they have come out to you. This will let them know you are still friends.

  • Be prepared for your friend to have mood swings. Coming out or Transitioning can be overwhelming. Anger and depression are common, especially if friends or family have trouble accepting your friend. Don’t take mood swings personally. Be flattered you are close enough to risk sharing any feelings of anger or frustration.

  • Do what you have always done together. Your friend probably feels that coming out will change everything in their life, and this is frightening. If you always go to the movies on Friday, then continue that.

  • Talk about other LGBTQ+ people you know. If your friend knows you have accepted someone else, they will feel more comfortable that you will accept them.

  • Learn about the LGBTQ+ community, or join one of thee many support groups. This will allow you to better support your friend, and knowing about their world will help prevent you from drifting apart.

  • Don’t allow your friend to become isolated. Let them know about organizations and places where they can meet other supportive folks.

Helpful links or other information

If you are having trouble with some of the terminology that is being thrown around please take the time to look at our Frequently Asked Questions page. It may be a great resource for you. 

Do you know someone who’s queer or gender diverse, or who you think might be questioning their sexual or gender identity? Showing that you love and care about them is really important. Acknowledge their courage and keep giving them support. There’s no secret formula with how to deal with someone close to you coming out as queer & gender diverse – listen to them, respect their boundaries and treat them like you would any other friend.

Reach out to Rainbow Youth - 

The first step woud be to reach out to The Centre For Youth Health in Manukau. Note: Your school based health team (e.g. School Counsellor or Nurse) can refer directly to the The Centre for Youth Health.

The Youth Centre was established to provide a friendly, safe environment with structured recreational facilities for children of all ages.

The Hibiscus Coast Youth Centre is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower, strengthen youth and their families by providing comprehensive youth development through education, physically challenging activities, employment and training advocacy and other support services.

We provide opportunities and support for young people, encouraging them to become involved in, and contribute to the development of their community.

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