It is revolutionary for any trans (transgender) person to choose to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist. ~ Laverne Cox

Over the past couple of years the transgender community has gained a higher level of mainstream exposure. This is in part thanks to the transgender men and women who helped fight for equality at New York City’s Stonewall Inn riots back in the1960s. They, among many other social influencers, paved the way into popular culture for transgender individuals like Cher’s son Chaz Bono, Laverne Cox on the hit Netflix show Orange is the New Black, as well as activists and authors like Janet Mock, who released last year’s Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.

Awareness of transgender issues recently hit stratospheric heights when former Olympian and Decathlon winner Caitlyn Jenner came out as a transwoman in a historic interview with Diane Sawyer. Her story has prompted conversations in households and workplaces that many folks never had before and left the world with a more intimate understanding of what it means to be transgender.

Undoubtedly, many families are now finding themselves learning how to best support loved ones that identify as transgender.

I hope this piece will give them, as well as you, some very practical tips on how to do that.

Create an environment that is supportive of all people (of all genders).

One of the most important things that you can do to best support someone who is transgender or gender nonconforming is to create a safe space for ALL people. Contrary to some critics, transpeople don’t want “special rights” or unsolicited attention. By far, folks who identify as trans want to be seen for the whole of their being, not just their gender identities.

If you can help create a space and environment in your home or workplace that is safe for a variety of genders, sexualities, races, religions, or levels of ability, you can be sure that you’re creating an environment that is welcome to trans people. You can reflect your acceptance by something as small as a rainbow sticker on your door. Organizations can adjust forms that allow for an open response for gender demographics. A little change goes a long way.

Do your own research.

If you would like to further your knowledge about what it means to be trans, there is a lot of information online that you can readily access. Chaz Bono released his documentary BecomingChaz back in 2011. The film, which is currently available on Netflix, explores Chaz’s transition and his relationship with his superstar mother. You may also want to read Janet Mock’s book mentioned above; you can find it in most bookstores.

Along with a wide selection of blogs and websites, there are also some great YouTube channels that feature trans people such as Jazz Jennings, who is a 14-year-old transgirl who was once featured on ABC News. A Girl Like Me with Chloe M is also a great vlog channel for transwomen and families seeking to learn more. Aydian Dowling, a transman and fitness model, also has a YouTube channel and he recently discussed his gender identity and transition on the Ellen show.

Read more about it on Talk Space: