In my previous post, I wrote about the honest efforts people make to help their transgender friends and family members along. Also, I described how the best of their intentions might sometimes miss the mark. Comparison with cisgender ailments, in particular, might make them feel misunderstood.
I´m not saying that you can´t say anything to a transgender person. Or that you should think twice about helping them, because they might not take it so well. However I think it is good to have a sense of things that make your transgender family member or friend feel better, and things that make them feel worse.
Most important of all, I think, is to acknowledge their struggle. The trans struggle is an incredible pain in the ass, from dealing with dysphoria (sometimes lifetimes) to coming out, to being screened by therapists, going through endless waiting lists, to covering the cost of surgery, to facing transphobia.
In most cases the struggle takes years. Although there is no average transition time, three to five years is relatively short. That´s a good deal of time and an incredible amount of energy that is being sacrificed to become who they are. There is no greater reward than that; but also there is no other reward than that.
For all these reasons, it´s frequently easier for trans people to discuss hardship among themselves. Explaining gender dysphoria, and its side-effects (possible anxiety, depression, possible self-harm or suicidal feelings) to cisgender friends and relatives can be somewhat scary. If they do, don´t dismiss their feelings.
Transition is a kind of limbo for many. The hope to get hormones, surgery, and finally resemble who they are (and were all along) makes the whole thing somewhat bearable. In the meantime, it helps to work on emotional and physical strength and resilience. These are no solution, but they do help get to the other side.