“Trans”itions

Ben Slaterbeck, Staff Reporter

You have probably heard of trans people, but you might not know much about them. If someone you know is trans, and you are confused but want to do the best you can, this might be the thing you need to get started.

An important thing to note before continuing: Every person (trans or not) is different.

This is just to provide baseline information for those searching for clarity. If you are worried about doing something wrong, you should ask them, “What can I do to make you feel comfortable?” It is important that you do not push them to say stuff they do not want to or to not ask invasive questions. So asking what you can do to make them comfortable gives them the option to tell you as much or as little as they want.

Sometimes the trans person is someone you have known for many years, so it might feel weird getting used to their new name and pronouns and you will probably slip up a bit at first. As long as you are making the effort to correct yourself, the slip-ups should fade away and your friend and/or family member will most likely appreciate the effort.

It is hard when trans people have to deal with transphobic people “deadnaming” them (using the old name) or using the wrong pronouns on purpose and refusing to change. It is very frustrating and makes them feel invalidated. Although, sometimes they have to pretend it is ok because coming out as trans could be dangerous for them.

If you do not want to misgender your trans friend/family, you can use gender neutral pronouns (They/Them) as a middle ground when talking to people who do not know.

A very important thing to add is that it is not your job to tell people about your trans friend/family being trans. The only person who should be telling people is the trans person. You should not immediately tell their parents or guardians, because they might be in the closet at home for safety reasons. 

If there are any questions you have that would potentially make a trans person feel uncomfortable, you can look it up on the internet where someone is more comfortable talking about the question you have. It is better to look it up than make your friend/family uncomfortable.

If reading articles does not seem to be enough, or you want to listen to someone talking about it, there are plenty of trans creators on YouTube who talk about trans issues, correct false information about trans people, debate transphobic people and/or advertisements, and even show their transition progress. Two creators I know of are Sam Collins and Jammidodger. Both are trans men, and they do more than just what is listed above and are very informative.

Jammidodger has a video that shows his full transition progress over the course of roughly eight years. In other videos, he answers some of the questions that could make your friend/family uncomfortable as well. Overall, highly recommend you watch his videos about trans related topics if you want more information.

Again, it is important to remember that every person is different and I am not speaking on behalf of every single trans person. This is just a general guideline to get you started if you want to learn more. You can look up more questions or ask your trans friend/family member any questions you might have. It is very important to support trans people while they transition. It makes them feel safer.