Dear Ethel | Issue 12

Dear Ethel | Issue 12

Friend worry

Dear Ethel,
My friend came to me upset the other day because she had an argument with her partner. My friend is transgender and she told me when her partner doesn’t get his way he hides her hormones and doesn’t like her going to LGBT+ groups on campus. She says that she loves him but feels hurt when he behaves this way. This behaviour seems controlling and I want to help my friend but I don’t know what to say or how to help? 

From Concerned


Dear Concerned,
Firstly, your friend must really trust you for her to come to you for support. You sound like a great friend to have. Controlling and abusive behaviour can come in many different forms. Denying access to vital medications and making it difficult to see friends is unacceptable behaviour in any relationship. 

You can let your friend know you are concerned about her, and listen to what she has to say. 

Some ways you can help your friend include: offering her a safe place to stay should she need to leave her home quickly; offering to help locate queer, trans, and takatāpui friendly support services; offering to make contact with and go with her to a support service; and offering to help create a safety plan.

Remember there are many reasons why people stay in a relationship with a controlling or abusive person. Your friend’s reasons may not be known to you so it’s important to avoid judging her. 

There is a great online resource that focuses on queer, trans and takatāpui relationships at This resource has information as well other services you, your friend, or your friend’s partner can access. 

And remember that queer, trans and takatāpui students, as well as friends, whānua and allies can visit Queer Support at OUSA Student Support for information and support. 

All the Best

This article first appeared in Issue 12, 2016.
Posted 11:59am Sunday 22nd May 2016 by Student Support.