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Life can be tricky at the best of times. For a person who is gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender, the simple act of being themselves around friends and family can be difficult and emotionally traumatic. Especially if friends and family are not supportive of the situation.
When a friend or family member decides to come out, many indicate to the person that ‘they already knew’. Although there are many out there who are ok with differences in sexuality, there are, unfortunately, many who are not. Even though you may not agree with a persons choice in sexuality, for whatever reason, it is still possible to show support for your friend or family member.
You don’t need to talk about it if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Just simply being with the person, and not turning your back on them, both physically and literally will make the world of difference. Put yourself in that person’s place. Imagine what it would feel like to have those closest to you not be supportive in a situation where you are simply trying to express who you are. You would want people to be supportive and accepting. This empathic way of showing support is vital if you want to show a friend or family member that you are there for them. Without showing empathy, you will not be able to put yourself in the other persons shoes, and therefore supporting a friend may be difficult for you. In saying that, it is not entirely impossible.
Not all of us are great at empathy. Even if you can’t show empathy, you can still be there for someone.