The news has been dominated this week by headlines about Bradley Manning, the Army private who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks. Today, however, the headlines changed, as the officer announced in an interview that she is transgender and wishes to live as Chelsea Manning, a female.
If you don’t know anyone who is transgender, you might be confused by Manning’s announcement and request to refer to her by her new name, and to “use the feminine pronoun.” We love that by releasing a statement to the public, Chelsea has opened the door for more transgender people to share their stories and experiences.
Because you might be unsure of what to do if your friend comes out as transgender, we’ve put together a few quick tips for you. Here are three ways you can be an awesome ally to your friend who has come out as transgender:
+ Do Ask, They’ll Tell.
If your friend comes out as transgender, it’s natural that you’d have questions. If you’re curious, go straight to the source. If your friend knows you’re coming to him or her without judgments and because you want to know more, he or she will gladly tell you what you want to know. Remember, your friend is still your friend. If you’re nervous, just pretend you’re talking about last night’s episode of your favorite TV show or who you’re crushing on right now.
+ Practice Your Pronouns.
Those of you who hated learning grammar in school are probably rolling your eyes right now, but hear us out. If your friend comes out as transgender, make sure you ask how he or she would like to be addressed. Your friend might want you to use different pronouns to address him or her in the future. If you slip up at first, don’t panic! Just make sure your friend knows you’re trying and that you’re committed to using the proper pronouns.
+ Act Like An Ally.
The most important thing to remember is to always have your friend’s back. Your friend might look different and might want to be addressed a certain way, but none of that changes the fact that that’s still your BFF. There are so many ways you can be an advocate for your friend. If you’re interested in being an awesome ally, you can find tips from organizations like The Trevor Project or GLAAD.
Trevor's Tips On Coming Out
The Trevor Project provides support for those who want to talk to someone confidentially.
Stand In Solidarity
Stand in solidarity with the trans community.