For carers, family, friends

It is often difficult for family members and friends to understand why someone close to them must change their gender social role. 

Although social attitudes towards gender have changed dramatically in recent years, many people do not understand gender incongruence and gender dysphoria, and some still insist that it is a lifestyle decision or mental health problem. 

They may also confuse it with diversity in sexual identity, associating it with being gay or lesbian; this is incorrect. Transgender people may be straight, gay, lesbian, bi or asexual, just like everybody else.

Gender dysphoria is a healthcare need that arises because of a neuro-developmental difference in the affected person. They have no choice in this; it is simply how they were born. Gender identity is likely to be affected by a range of factors.

An individual’s awareness of gender identity, and the emergence of a range of gender-typical behaviours, is usually established by the age of two to three years. The earliest features of gender incongruence may start to become apparent around this age. Read more

It is important to be supportive and understanding when someone close to you has shared their wish to live in a gender which is different to their biological birth gender. It has taken them a great deal of courage to reach this point.  You are still talking to the same person with the same likes/dislikes and feelings.  At this point you may be saying to yourself, “can it be cured?” The answer is usually no, so it is best to be accepting of the situation.