I have two transgender cousins, and I've dated a female to male (FTM for short) transgender. So, I have a bit of experience with them.
My cousins are both in their teen years still, and so going through this is hard for them, especially when the both of them have a lot more to deal with on their plate. My cousin's both have learning disabilities (like myself), and one of them has pre-existing medical problems, which is why they can't fully transition into the gender they want to be.
Before I talk about my cousins and what their journey is like, I want to talk about my ex and his journey. So, I dated my ex on and off for about two to three years. And when you date someone who's a transgender, you get eyed at and judged too, not just your partner. For me, a lot of people in my life didn't want me dating him because of him being transgender and he also dealt with serious depression. Looking back at it now, I get the point of them wanting me not to date him because of his depression. I was already going through a lot myself, and being with someone who had major depression was just bringing me down even more. But, the transgender reason made no sense.
Just like everyone else, he's human too with feelings. It killed me that people would judge him for it and that he wasn't able to express himself fully. He also had a hard time changing his name. I won't give you the names he changed to due to respect and privacy for him, but he changed them a lot and now goes by a different name than he did when I was dating him.
Another thing that I experienced with him was that a lot of people kept using the old terms like "She, her, her's, she's, girl". It really made me mad because they did it in front of him, but they also did it in front of me. I constantly defended him, saying that they should call him by his proper pronouns, but they fought back, giving the argument "If she's not born a boy, then she's not a boy". That argument still pisses me off to this day!
I don't really talk to my ex anymore because his depression got so bad that he developed a drug addiction and I think he became an alcoholic, not quite sure about him being an alcoholic though, I could be wrong. So, I haven't really heard from him since September or October? I really can't remember to be honest with you!
Now let's talk about my cousins experiences. My cousins came out when they were just in their early teens. My male to female cousin (or MTF for short) came out when she was about fourteen. My female to male cousin came out when he was around fifteen or sixteen. They both struggled in their own personal ways. My male to female cousin struggled with acceptance, while my female to male cousin struggled with his name for a while, but he now has a great name. And it's great because it's very close to his former name.
Now I'd like to talk about things that you need to know about transgender people and how you should treat them, because a lot of people still seem to struggle with this factor, even if they're accepting of transgender people!
1. They are NOT all the same!
Not every transgender woman or transgender man are gonna be the same. Take my cousins for example. My male to female cousin is very girly, but has an urban style to it. She likes to act like she is black (not gonna lie), and her jokes are very rude and sarcastic. My female to male cousin, on the other hand, is sweet, chill, wants to treat everybody with respect, and doesn't care about what people think. Now another male to female may be more like my female to male cousin, while another female to male might be more like my male to female cousin. Every transgender woman or man are not all the same.
2. Everyone's transition journey is different!
Every transgender woman or man has a different transition journey from the other. One may have more struggle with the acceptance while the other may have more struggle with their appearance. That being said though, all transgenders in the end struggle with their appearance because they're not the gender that they're truly supposed to be. My cousin's journey are very different from the other's. My female to male cousin is going to get his hormonal treatment later on while my male to female cousin is getting her treatments right now. My male to female cousin is going to have her gender reassignment surgery, while my female to male cousin will not be able to, due to pre-existing medical issues. So, every transgender's transition journey is different, so never expect two different transgender's to be going through the same journey as the other!
3. It's very, VERY DISRESPECTFUL to use their old pronouns!
When a person comes out as transgender, that means that they're not going to be using the same pronouns as everyone is used to. So if they're a girl trying to become a male, she becomes he. If they're a male trying to become female, he becomes she. If you make a mistake here and there, it's totally fine. I've done it to my female to male cousin, but I always apologized and he was always cool with it. Not everyone can be though, so you will have to try and watch what pronouns you use. It's considered disrespectful when you constantly use their old pronouns, so don't do it.
4. Mental health issues occur a lot with transgender people!
Everyone deals with mental health issues, but people who are transgender deal with them a lot more. The reason for this is because they're not in their right physical body and it makes them feel very depressed. They also deal with Dysmorphia, which is when a person doesn't like their body. My female to male cousin goes through this because he still has the reproductive system of a female. I've witnessed the experience myself. It was his sister's grade eight graduation bbq and his crush was coming over to celebrate it. He got all dressed up and ready for her. But that day, he got his period and he became depressed because he was reminded that he's still physically a girl and not a boy. Transgender people can also deal with anxiety issues as well. They may be worried that people will laugh and make fun of them or hurt them in some kind of way. So, because transgender people are more likely to deal with mental issues, you should be cautious and try not to make them feel uncomfortable as it may put a spark to their issues.
5. It can be VERY HARD for them to get into relationships!
Transgender people have a harder time getting into relationships. The reason for that is because there are still people out there that will judge them for being transgender, and the person they might wanna get into a relationship with, may not want to be with a transgender person. My male to female cousin has this problem! She goes on dating sites (even though she's a bit young for that) and talks to people online. Whenever she hangs out with me, she always asks the question if she should tell them that she's transgender or not. It's VERY important to transgender people that they are accepted by their partner because if they're not, there won't be a healthy relationship out of it. Take Jazz Jennings for example! She has a hard time telling people that she wants to get in a relationship with that she's transgender. Again, this is because not everyone is accepting of that, and you can't get into a relationship with someone who is not accepting of you! So if you've had a hard time with relationships, just remember that there's always someone else out there who is struggling a lot harder than you are with relationships!
6. They have a harder time getting jobs!
Unfortunately, not everyone is accepting of the LGBTQ community and some companies won't hire people of that community! It's sad that there are companies that are still out there that do this, but it's the truth. Now, I'm not going by my cousin's experiences, I'm going by my ex's experiences. My ex was able to get jobs, but he had a hard time holding onto the jobs. He either quit or got fired from them. Now, I'm not really sure why this happened because I don't know the full stories, but I just know that for him it's hard to get and keep the job. But it's not just him that struggles with getting jobs and keeping them, it's other transgender people too. Some companies are still having a hard time accepting people of the LGBTQ community. So, it makes it harder for people who are transgender, to get a job.
These are some things about transgender's that I know, that I think you should know as well. If you would like to add more points, you can do so in the comments below! If you're transgender yourself, know that I stand with you because I myself am apart of the LGBTQ community. (I'm Bisexual)! Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed this! Have a nice day/night!