Learning how to respect someone transgender might be awkward for some people. Not everyone knows someone that is transgender and if you don't understand what transgender really is, you could end up offending someone without ever meaning to. Below, I've got the top 7 ways on how to respect someone transgender so that you can really respect their wishes and know how to understand someone that is transgender better!
1. Refer to Them as Their Respective Gender
The very first rule that you'll have to learn when you are learning how to respect someone transgender is to refer to them by their respective gender, regardless of how they look. If they happen to look like a boy, but want to be referred to as a girl, do it. That is the gender that they relate to and you want to respect that.
2. Watch past Tense
If you've been friends with someone that is transgender for a while and you knew them before they finally admitted to being transgender, watch your past tense. Saying things like, 'before, when you were a girl' is not respectful to a transgender person. You might think it is perfectly normal, but think about how long your friend has been living a lie.
3. Call Them the Name of Their Choice
If they choose to change their name, let's say from Jill to Devin, you've got to respect that. You can't keep calling them their birth name, in fact, that is really disrespectful and it could lead to a lot of tension. If they relate to a gender-specific name versus the name they were given, just refer to them as that!
4. Don't Be Scared to Ask Questions
Of course, you never, ever have to be scared to ask any questions, but remember, keep it to educational questions. You don't need to ask them if they are getting a sex change or if they are going to be legally reassigned to their chosen gender. Also, don't rely on your friend to give you all of the information, educate yourself too!
5. Don't Make It Awkward
Coming out, no matter what type of coming out it is, is hard. It's difficult, awkward and uncomfortable, so you don't need to make it more awkward and uncomfortable. Make it as comfortable as possible and really take interest in it. Your trans friend will appreciate it!
6. Respect Privacy
Just because they came out to you, doesn't give you an all-access pass to everything personal about them. Just like you, you've got to respect the privacy of your trans friend and don't get into a lot of specific questions. If they want you to know all of their information, just like you, they'll come to you with it.
7. Don't Assume
Finally, the worst thing that you can do is assume. You don't ever want to assume that you know every single thing that your friend has been through or everything that they are going to go through. You don't. Just like nobody knows what you've been through or dealt with in your life.
As you can see, there are a lot of steps and ways that you can respect someone that is transgender. It is a difficult thing to deal with, but with a lot of support, someone that is trans can feel comfortable. So, have you ever known someone trans? Tell me!