How to support someone questioning their gender identity
Written by Che’ Watson, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator
Why is it so important to support someone questioning their gender identity?
Because transgender and non-binary people who are recognised and affirmed in their identities may be more likely to have better mental health outcomes.
In being there for someone who is questioning their gender identity, you will also help meet their Emotional Needs for Security, Status, Community and Emotional Connection. Find out more about Emotional Needs here.)
Here are five tips for how you can support someone questioning their gender identity:
There’s no script
The journey of gender identity is unique to the individual. There is no right or wrong way to explore gender and allowing them to lead their journey is very important.
Let them come to you
If you think someone might be questioning their gender, let them come to you. This helps to prevent them from being questioned or pressured by those around them, and it gives them the opportunity to truly talk to you about their gender identity if and when they want to.
Appreciate their trust
Saying “thank you for telling me” can go a long way for someone who has decided to open up and share their journey with you. By showing you appreciate their trust in you, you can help them feel more comfortable to talk to you in the future.
If someone tells you they are questioning their gender, do not overload them with questions. Instead, after the conversation, spend time educating yourself, particularly if they mentioned terms you are not familiar with.
Ask them what they need
If they do tell you, ask them how they would like to be addressed from now on. It may be that they have chosen a different name, or different gender pronouns (such as he/him, she/her, they/them). You can also ask if they want support sharing their journey with others.
To find out more about how Suffolk Mind can help you and those around you, take a look at our LGBT+ Mental Health page.
Author: Beren Reid