I first heard about the Five Love Languages at a “Healthy Relationships” workshop at a trans leadership training in Los Angeles—and my mind was blown. It was 2013, Biff and I had been dating for two years, and I didn’t feel like he really cared about me because he never held my hand or kissed me in public. He never really told me he loved me in a way that felt specific or certain. Whenever I brought this up, he would always respond that he kept our house clean, cooked food for us every night, and let me sleep in on the weekends. Wasn’t that proof enough of his love?
I train hundreds of people every year, covering many aspects of competency around transgender issues. I teach people how to use gender-neutral pronouns, how to make it right when they’ve made a mistake, how to create bias-free classrooms… and more. But one of the most common and hard to answer questions I get is this: How do I say the right thing all the time?