How to Support Transgender Teens Coming Out
The LGBTQ movement has made some landmark strides in the past decade. This, in combination with greater awareness and visibility of transgender people in society and the media, has helped transgender teens find the courage to come out to their families and friends.
Though it is easier for transgender teens to come out today than in generations past, that does not mean they do not need support, and plenty of it. Here are a few important ways you can support transgender teens in coming out:
1. Encourage Authenticity
There are different levels of coming out. Some teenagers may find the courage to say the words, yet still have a hard time fully expressing themselves. If left unchecked, this muted self-expression can lead to anxiety and depression down the road. Try to find ways to let young people in your life know they can be 100% authentic around you.
2. Help Create Safe Spaces
Take a look around your local community to see if there are safe spaces for transgender youth. Check out Seacoast Outright in Portsmouth, NH. They have been supporting LGBTQ youth since 1993. If there are no supportive agencies in your area, what can you do to change that? You might want to consider contacting school board officials and encourage them to adopt inclusive policies. Another way to ensure your community is safe for transgender teens is to not tolerate hate speech. There are also many resources online that offer the best practices in creating safe spaces for transgender youth.
3. Join the Fight
Though the LGBTQ movement has come a long way, there is still much that needs to be done to ensure full transgender equality. You can join the fight and stay up-to-date on local, state and federal advocacy.
If you know a transgender teen who needs some extra support and encouragement while coming out, you might ask if they want to speak with a counselor who can facilitate communication with family members and also offer coping tools and strategies.
Hi, my name is Lisabeth Wotherspoon and I work with transgender teens and adults wherever they are in their process. Call me for a free 15-minute consultation at 603-994-0114. Go to my website www.LisabethWotherspoon.com/lgbtqia-individual-therapy for more information about my services for the transgender community.