Supporting trans loved ones is crucial, and regularly checking in on their mental health and well-being can make a world of difference, however, initiating a conversation about feelings and experiences can be challenging or feel a bit unnatural.
Following a week where the political attitude towards trans people has become particularly hostile, it’s more important than ever for trans allies to be effectively supporting trans loved ones and colleagues. This is especially vital if they’re multiply disadvantaged after similar verbal attacks have been launched on most marginalised communities. In this article, we’ll explore five gentle and caring ways to begin a conversation and let your trans loved one know you’re there for them, thinking of them, and showing that you are a safe person when the world around them might feel incredibly scary.
Kick off a chat with by sharing a silly meme, TikTok, or joke.
Sometimes, breaking the ice with a bit of a laugh can create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere when you’re communicating with trans friends or family members. Share a funny meme, a TikTok video, or a light-hearted joke that you think they’ll enjoy. This can be a subtle way to initiate a conversation and bring a smile to their face while offering much-needed pause for kindness. It also shows that you’re thinking about their happiness.
Invite them over for a cuppa!
A classic British tradition, inviting someone for a cup of tea is a warm and welcoming gesture, especially when you’re checking in on someone. You could even do this virtually if you’re not nearby! Send them a message saying, “Fancy a cuppa?” This simple invitation can open the door to a casual chat, where you can catch up, share stories, and offer your support without the pressure of a formal conversation about the mental health of your trans loved one.
Be straight to the point, ask how they’re coping.
Sometimes, it’s essential to directly address the challenges your trans colleague may be facing, as it is a vital aspect of LGBTQ+ support. You can say something like, “I know things have been tough lately, especially for trans folk. How are you coping?” By acknowledging their experience, you’re letting them know that you care about their unique perspective and are genuinely interested in their well-being.
Simply tell them that you’re thinking about them.
A straightforward and heartfelt message can convey your concern effectively. Send them a text or a message saying, “I’ve been thinking about you lately, and I know that things are really horrible for trans people at the moment. How are you doing?” This lets them know that you’re attentive and that you’re there for them whenever they want to talk about LGBTQ+ mental health.
Start using the emoji check in system.
Emojis can be a subtle yet powerful way to communicate your support. You could agree a colour system so that sending different coloured hearts can simply communicate different experiences. These emojis can convey love and care without the need for explicit words when you’re checking in on each other’s well-being. It’s a gentle way to show your LGBTQ+ support. You could say a red heart is I’m coping, a purple heart is that I need support, and a yellow heart could mean that they’re working on it! You can check out this facebook post for some more inspiration.
In Summary, supporting your transgender loved one is all about letting them know that you’re there for them, and starting a conversation is an important step. These five caring approaches offer different ways to initiate a dialogue while respecting their comfort and boundaries. Remember, the key is to show your love and support in a way that feels right for both of you, promoting positive mental health and support.
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