The world is full of many different kinds of people. If you don't have much experience, you may be unsure how to react to people who are different from you. When it comes to LGBT+ people, it helps to know that they aren't very different from you at all.
Method 1 of 2:Understanding LGBT+ People
1Recognize that anyone could be LGBT+. While some people are very open about their identities, others are less talkative about it. Your friend, your coworker, your sibling, the person in front of you in the line at a coffee shop, all could be LGBT+. Whatever your personal beliefs may be, always be respectful, because they can hear you.
You may think that you may have never met an LGBT+ person, but the truth is, you almost certainly have already met several of them. Their identity just didn't come up.
2Keep in mind that LGBT+ people are normal. They have feelings, dreams, hobbies, friends, likes, and dislikes just like you do. They aren't very different from you at all.
Same gender love isn't particularly different. They hold hands, kiss, talk, flirt, and support each other just like other couples do.
Transgender people aren't that different. It's just that other people don't know what their correct gender is, because they were assigned the wrong one at birth. But their real gender is the one that they tell you they are.
Some LGBT+ people might have a lot in common with you. Others might have less in common. Either way, they're regular people who deserve empathy and respect.
3Don't believe in stereotypes. Most stereotypes about LGBT+ people come from people who are afraid of what's different. But your average LGBT+ person isn't scary at all. Here are some examples of important things to understand:
Gay people don't want to date straight people. They'd rather date someone who can actually like them back.
Trans people aren't trying to trick anyone. They just want to live authentically, and be who they are inside.
Nobody wants to"convert"you to being LGBT. They just want the same rights and respect as anyone else. Bigots want to turn other people into bigots, but LGBT+ people don't want to turn other people LGBT+.
"Creepy"is not a letter in the acronym. Creeps and pedophiles exist of all genders and sexual orientations. Your average LGBT+ person is disgusted by predators too.
LGBT+ people aren't inherently promiscuous. The average LGBT+ person isn't any more promiscuous than the average straight, cis person.
Being LGBT+ is natural and healthy. Abuse or bad parenting doesn't turn someone LGBT+, nor can a person choose to stop being a certain identity. They're just fine the way they are.
Lack of acceptance, not LGBT+ identity, causes mental health issues. Being LGBT+ doesn't inherently cause mental health problems. But rejection by a community can lead to a person feeling isolated, betrayed, and unloved, and this can cause issues like depression and anxiety. If you want to protect an LGBT+ loved one from this, give them support.
4Try doing a little research online. This can help you learn the basics of what life is like for LGBT+ people. It can also help if you have questions that might not be polite to ask a specific person (like questions about sex or private parts), so that you don't embarrass anyone. The internet is full of websites that can teach you more about LGBT+ people.
5Expose yourself to media about LGBT+ people to help you understand better. Look for fictional stories about people who are LGBT+. See characters fall in love, face struggles, and find self acceptance. This can help you visualize what life is like for real LGBT+ people, and maybe understand others a little better.
Method 2 of 2:Talking to Someone
1Be positive if they tell you they're LGBT+. People can feel nervous about coming out, because they aren't sure if you'll be kind to them. Say something like"Thanks for telling me"or"Oh, that's cool!"Smile, and offer a hug if you want. This lets them know that they can trust you.
Even if it clashes with your beliefs, just think of their positive traits as a person.
2Ask questions, if you are unsure. Most LGBT+ people are okay with respectful, well-meaning questions like"How can I help and be a good friend to you?"or"What does that word mean? I'm not familiar with it."As long as you're respectful and kind, it's almost always okay.
Avoid slurs (even if you think the person uses it themselves or has"reclaimed"it) to avoid offending anyone.
Avoid asking them for private information, such as what is in their pants. If you wouldn't ask it to a non-LGBT+ person, don't ask it to an LGBT+ person.
3Help them if they're being bullied or harassed. Walk up to the LGBT+ person, and invite them to hang out with you (so you can take them away from the bullies). Or, if you don't feel safe doing so, get an authority figure.
4Be a good friend. You don't have to have everything figured out, or understand everything about the person's identity. Just keep doing your best to be kind, empathetic, and supportive. If you're trying to be a good friend, it's hard to go wrong.