When your best friend transitions

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When your best friend transitions

LikeSunshineDust LikeSunshineDust
I'm having a tough time with something right now, and it's not something I ever wanted to have a tough time with. I have a very, very close friend who I've known for years and he recently gender-transitioned. We were in different states for a couple years when he first started the transition, and now I'm actually living with him for 6 weeks.

I love him and support him in everything, but the transition isn't very easy for me. I try to use male pronouns and sometimes forget to (which he's ok with, he's very patient with me), or sometimes I'll avoid using pronouns all together. Even using male pronouns while writing this feels very... strange to me. I don't feel like I can use his female name anymore, even though that's how I know him, but he goes by nick names that don't mean anything to me with all his friends here. I'm trying different names to see how they feel, like his last name.

I want so bad to feel comfortable using the names and pronouns he prefers, but it's very difficult for me.

Has anyone else had a close friend who transitioned? Does anyone have any advice?
09/07/2010
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clp clp
I have family and friends that are trans. I understand that it can be difficult for everyone involved, and I have seen all types of reactions. I think it is great that you are trying to address your concerns, and this should be a safe place to do so.

What is it about pronouns that makes you uncomfortable? Do you not see him as a man, or is it a matter of correcting reactions? I'm glad that your friend is patient, but make sure you are also making effort to get there. Open discussion will help lots.

Sometimes your questions and concerns may feel like they are the elephant in the room; they don't need to be. As long as you make effort, the names and pronouns and other changes will gradually become natural. If you are to invent your own nickname, make sure that he is also comfortable with it. I would say that any questions you have should include your friend. Just as with any subject, people will have different reasons and thoughts and nobody wants the same thing; there is no one-fits-all. As well meaning as it is, you may pick up advice that he doesn't agree with or doesn't apply. If you are uncomfortable, conflicted, or confused, say so. Those types of emotions can be mistaken for rejection and you want to be clear if it isn't while you are trying to make efforts to reprogram, as it were.

I hope all this makes sense. Its only my opinion, of course, but just like everything in life, all wounds heal in time. Any problems you have now will take care of themselves if you make baby steps to address them.
09/07/2010
LikeSunshineDust LikeSunshineDust
Quote:
Originally posted by clp
I have family and friends that are trans. I understand that it can be difficult for everyone involved, and I have seen all types of reactions. I think it is great that you are trying to address your concerns, and this should be a safe place to do so. ...
Thanks so much for your response.

I'm absolutely making an effort to become comfortable with it all, and I've talked to him about it and have voiced this concern with him.

It makes me so upset with myself that I'm getting hung up over stupid little words.
09/08/2010
DeliciousSurprise DeliciousSurprise
The problem with English is that we don't really have commonly used gender neutral pronouns... Yes, there's Ze, but that's not mainstream or socially easy.

If you're uncomfortable using male pronouns, don't use them at all, and just work on using his chosen name (I was with Taylor today and Taylor said that.... Chris said that we should go over there and we can all hang out together.") In time, once you become more used to the transition, it'll be easier. Spending more face time with him will make it easier to accept the pronoun because you'll be able to see him living the life that he is comfortable with, and that might make you more comfortable with it in general.

Best of luck
09/08/2010
LikeSunshineDust LikeSunshineDust
Quote:
Originally posted by DeliciousSurprise
The problem with English is that we don't really have commonly used gender neutral pronouns... Yes, there's Ze, but that's not mainstream or socially easy.

If you're uncomfortable using male pronouns, don't use them at ...
Big steps for me today: Used male pronouns when referring to him to mutual friends.. something I had avoided so far.
09/11/2010
Dante Blaize Dante Blaize
I'm really happy to see you posting on here about this. It means a lot to have allies, and I can at least say that I am totally patient and understanding about people trying to figure out pronouns and names. My friends and family are actually in the same situation as you right now with me. I am a newly out FTM transguy and not currently on hormones (though strongly considering it). I started going by Ayden about five months ago and for the most part people have adjusted to that. It's a lot harder though for people that have known me a long time, and I totally respect that. As for pronouns, some people catch on faster than others. I still have a female voice and some female features are apparent, so most of the world sees me as female. That makes it pretty confusing when some of my friends refer to me as "he." I don't get upset when people slip up. All in all I just appreciate the support and love. It's not easy going through this, and it's never easy for the people around you either.

I'm sure your friend appreciates you caring and trying to call him whatever he wants to be called. It will take time, but eventually it will most likely feel natural. Don't be hard on yourself. It's really not something to be ashamed of. Keep talking about it!
09/29/2010
LikeSunshineDust LikeSunshineDust
I'm doing a lot better, now that I'm around him and our mutual friends more. It was tough at the beginning but now it feels pretty natural, unless I'm talking to someone who knows him but doesn't know he's trans. Then it get complicated and I generally try to find a way to avoid pronouns.
10/01/2010
jursa008 jursa008
The fact that you are making an effort, and asking for advice shows that you are a great friend and truly do care about him. I am an ftm, and found that when transitioning it was harder for the friends that I was closer to. They had a more difficult time making the mental adjustment, because when an individual comes out as trans they are asking the world to view them as they have always seen themselves, but have never been acknowledged for in the past.

It just takes time, and eventually it will become natural to you. As long as you are making the effort, which is more than I can say for some of my friends, then that is all that matters.

He has opened himself up to the world, and just wants to be accepted for himself. It used to mean so much to me to hear people using the correct pronouns and name.

All in all.. you are doing what you can. You are open, and accepting.. and trying. That is all any trans individual can ask for from a friend.
10/19/2010
Niyari Niyari
Trying your best is a great step.
Though it's not good to do things you're uncomfortable with so I suggest talking to him more about how he feels and stuff to help you understand.
05/02/2012
MasonM MasonM
Quote:
Originally posted by LikeSunshineDust
I'm having a tough time with something right now, and it's not something I ever wanted to have a tough time with. I have a very, very close friend who I've known for years and he recently gender-transitioned. We were in different states ...
I've had several friends that have transitioned and for me it has always been simple. On the other hand I'm transitioning now and my husband is having a really rough time of learning to use masculine pronouns and the name (that I've actually gone by online for years and am just starting to use offline as well as on) that I've chosen for myself.

It might help to talk to him about it and explain that you're trying but are still having trouble with it.
05/03/2012
Total posts: 10
Unique posters: 7