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05 April 2011

Telling people you are transgendered

We offer advice on how to tell others that you are transgendered.

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Telling people you are transgender, can seem rather daunting. First take time to consider who you plan to inform and, if you will be telling more than one person, what order it would be best to speak to them.

Try to work out the likelihood that the people you are planning to tell might reveal your situation to other people and how you would deal with that. Generally, it is easiest if the first person you tell is the person you predict will be the most supportive.

This is partly because it is encouraging if the first person you tell reacts well, but also because they might then be able to help to support you during the rest of the process if you are worried about telling others.

Possible reactions
People may react to the news that you are transgender in all kinds of different ways. They could be completed unfazed and fully supportive of you, or they might be really curious, surprised or confused.

Unfortunately, some people might become very upset about it or even angry and blaming towards you but that kind of response often calms down once they have had some time to adjust.

Sometimes the fact that someone really cares for you can mean that if you are telling them you intend to transition then they become very concerned about the prejudice you may face or the risk of taking hormones or having surgery. They might try to repeatedly tell you that you are doing something too drastic and risky or that you will ruin your life.

It is hard for other people to understand the certainty you may feel, so give them time to adjust and try to appreciate that their reaction is because they care about your welfare. You will quite likely find that their opinions change for the better over the first two or three years when a lot of the transition occurs and they hopefully start to see your life becoming happier.

Having an impact
Remember that often the people that you are telling will never have had to think about gender identity issues before. The way you describe your situation during the initial conversation with them may have a big impact on how well they react and what they think about you.

It can be a good idea to plan what you are going to say and to try to anticipate difficult questions they might ask so that you can have clear explanations ready.

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