Practice sending the right message
if a friend came out to you over text, what would you say?
I would try to be supportive
yeah but how?
Sending the right message takes practice. Society has taught everyone lots of subtle, unintentional ways of being homophobic, biphobic and transphobic.
It may not be your fault, but it is your responsibility to respond in the right way. Check out these quizzes to learn why some messages sting while others support.
I’m thinking of coming out to my parents tonight. 😢
OMG, your dad is going to have a heart attack!
No matter who they’re coming out to and how many times they’ve already done it, coming out can be scary. Assuming the worst won’t help. Try being encouraging and supportive so your friend knows you’ve got their back.
Don’t get disowned! LOL
When someone comes out, they don’t know for sure if their family or friends will support them. Your friend is probably already freaked out about what’s happening. Getting disowned isn’t a joke, it may actually happen.
Do you want to talk about it? Is there anything I can do?
Offering your support to a friend who is coming out is a great start. Listen and check in from time to time to keep your friendship strong.
Finally! You’ve been in the closet forever!
Some LGBTQ people choose to come out and others choose not to because it may be risky for them. Your friend may get kicked out of their home, experience strained relationships, increased stress and much more. Coming out is a big decision and your friend has a right to make it on their own time in their own way. Ultimately, they may choose not to come out at all. The process is different for everyone. Learn more about coming out.
Coming out is a big decision. The process is different for everyone. Your friend has the right to choose to come out in their own time and in their own way. Some LGBTQ people choose not to come out because it may be too risky. Your friend may be kicked out, get yelled at, feel stressed and much more. Learn more about coming out.
You know how I used to go by he/him? I use they/them pronouns now.
Ok, cool. I’ll remember that.
When someone starts using new pronouns, they’ll feel supported if you validate them and commit to changing your language too.
WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!
It’s ok not to understand, but be careful how you show your confusion. Instead of getting worked up, let the person know you’ve heard what they said and ask them to explain what they mean.
That’s really confusing. I’m never going to remember that.
When someone comes out, avoid making it about you. Instead, thank them for trusting you and let them know you might need a bit of support and practice to shift your language. This may be confusing at first, but it’s worth practicing so that you can be a respectful friend.
Does that mean you’re, like, one of those trans people? 😂
Yes, it absolutely could mean that they’re trans! But it could also mean a lot of other things, like that they are non-binary or another gender identity. Making fun of someone’s identity is not a good way to show your support.
Hey, can I bring my boyfriend to your party this weekend?
Bro, weren’t you just dating a girl? Just pick a side already!
It’s perfectly okay for your friend to be interested in a variety of genders. People aren’t asked to choose between blondes or brunettes and they shouldn’t be expected to choose just one gender to date either! Check yourself and ask why it’s important to you that your friend should only date one gender.
Haven’t you switched teams three times now? Lol
When we talk about switching teams, we assume that there are only two: gay and straight. But there are so many teams, including team bi. Bisexuality, pansexuality, omnisexuality, queer sexuality—these are all legit identities and experiences. Bi folks aren’t secretly gay or straight, they’re bi. Be supportive about anyone awesome your friend is dating, regardless of their gender.
Cool so you’re definitely gay now?
Just because someone is dating someone of the same sex doesn’t mean they identify as gay. Lots of bi people have same-sex dates. Ask your friend how they identify or wait for them to tell you. Remember, the way people identify can change over time.
Sounds cool, can’t wait to meet him.
This is a great way to show your friend that your friendship won’t change based on who they’re attracted to.
did you see Rena with that girl? do you think she’s a lesbian now?
she’s way too pretty for that
Pretty means different things to different people. Often, people assume that pretty is feminine, and that only straight women can be feminine. But that’s not true for a lot of people, and it also reinforces the gender binary. Remember, gender expression and sexual orientation are different things! Lesbians can be butch or femme or somewhere in between or both. Butch lesbians are also attractive to many people. Straight women can also be somewhere on the masculine to feminine spectrum too.
two girls together? that’s hot
Objectifying LGBTQ women can make them feel disrespected. When two people are together, they’re not having sex for your entertainment. Someone else’s relationship has nothing to do with your fantasies.
maybe, but she won’t be if she dates me
You can’t change someone’s sexual orientation by dating them. And why would you want to? Take some time to think about why you feel this way. Do you feel uncomfortable that women can be in relationships without men or vice versa? Self reflection is a good first step to allyship.
idk. It’s not my business. she’ll tell us if she wants to
Coming out is nobody’s business except for the person coming out. When you show support, LGBTQ people can show you who they are on their own terms. This is a great response because it doesn’t feed gossip.
In the washroom
Omg I saw a guy in a dress in the girl’s washroom today. When I asked him to leave, he said he’s trans and it’s where he’s most comfortable. Can you believe it?
What a creep!
Some people are afraid of trans women using bathrooms because they think they’re men dressing up to spy on women. Trans women are women, they aren’t guys dressed up as women (and PS the person sending this text should have used she pronouns!). Even if someone doesn’t look like a woman to you, that doesn’t mean they aren’t one.
Some trans people who use the women’s bathroom don’t identify as women, but they use the women’s bathroom because it is safer for them. While there are zero recorded incidents of trans women assaulting cis women in bathrooms, there are many cases of trans people being harassed and assaulted in bathrooms by cis people. It isn’t up to you to decide who should pee in what room.
If you feel strongly that everyone needs a safe place to pee, then you can help advocate for gender neutral bathrooms.
ugh the girl’s bathroom is for girls!
The girl’s bathroom is for all girls, including trans girls.
But what about all of the non-binary, genderqueer, gender non-conforming and agender people—where do they pee?
Trans people shouldn’t be punished because there are usually only two rooms to pee in. If someone is using the women’s washroom, it’s either because they know where they belong (and we should take their word for it) or because there aren’t other safer places to pee. Blame the gender binary, don’t blame trans people.
idk, people should get to choose the washroom that matches their gender.
While we can’t always tell who is trans and who isn’t, we can help make the spaces we share with others feel safe and affirming.
Today I made friends with the gay guy in my art class. I’ve finally got a GBF!
OMG so jealous! He’s gonna give you the best makeup advice!
This is a stereotype. Not all gay guys are feminine and not all straight guys are masculine. Stereotypes like these hurt straight people too. If straight people don’t do gender expression “right,” they could be labelled as LGBTQ when they aren’t, and have to deal with the stigma, harassment and bullying that comes with it.
LOL yeah, but I def wouldn’t bring him near your bf 😝.
Straight guys and gay guys can totally hang out. Don’t assume gay guys are waiting to pounce on straight men. Gay men are into men, but not all men. They probably aren’t looking to hit on straight men because at best they will experience rejection and at worst, violence. And if people assume a straight guy is gay because of his gay friend, the straight guy can use his straight privilege to challenge those assumptions.
You mean Raj? Yeah he’s a great friend.
A friendship will last if you like him for who he is, not for the kind of stereotypical benefits you might assume he can give you. It's proactive to challenge your friend about how objectifying it can be to want to be friends with someone just because they’re gay.