How can I best support a friend who has just come out?

This is WHS: someone has probably come out to you before. Maybe it’s been one person. Maybe it’s been a few. Maybe it’s someone you don’t know all that well, but they’ve always been open about it. Maybe you’re the first port of call when your friends want to get it off their chests, or maybe they’ve been keeping it quiet for years. Maybe you’ve come out to someone else. But even if this has happened to you a million and one times, and yes, even if you are LGBT, it can feel awkward. It’s a moment. Someone might remember it for a long time, depending on your reaction. So it feels important to say the right thing- make no mistake, there are a lot of ‘right things’ to say… and a few very wrong ones. So here are a couple of do’s and don’t’s.

How can I best support a friend who has just come out?

Rick Riordan as an example of LGBT representation in media for children

It is often the case that parents like to justify their homophobia by saying that it’s bad to expose to children at too young an age. One children’s/teen’s author who hasn’t shied away from diversity in his series is Rick Riordan. He is well known for the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, but he also wrote two more series and two spin-off series. The original Percy Jackson series felt very much like your run-of-the-mill, white cisgender-heterosexual children’s fantasy series. Despite knowing that he would potentially lose a portion of his audience, Riordan wanted to represent all kinds of people in his following books. These had a much larger focus on diversity and inclusivity, especially in regard to sexuality and gender. A fair warning to all those reading the books or planning to (especially in light of J.K. Rowling’s comments): spoilers ahead!

Rick Riordan as an example of LGBT representation in media for children

Why J. K. Rowling’s transmisogyny is counterproductive to feminism as a whole

J. K. Rowling has recently caused a stir both on social media and in the news with one simple tweet. This has sparked debate about gender identity, feminism, and even the nature of free speech itself. On the sixth of June, Rowling retweeted an article about ‘Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate’ adding ‘‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’ This, while in and of itself not overtly malicious, is incorrect and perpetuates the transphobic notion that everyone who menstruates is a woman and that every woman menstruates. This is true even without taking transgender people into account, as there are many cisgender women who do not menstruate due to chronic health issues or even simply due to being post-menopause. After this was pointed out to Rowling by other Twitter users, Rowling posted many other tweets defending herself. However, these made it clear that her original tweet came not out of simple ignorance around the difference between sex and gender, but out of transmisogynistic ideology.

Why J. K. Rowling’s transmisogyny is counterproductive to feminism as a whole