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Women's and Gender Studies

Resources for those interested in Women's and Gender Studies

What is a SOFFA?

The term means:

  • Significant Other
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Allies

A SOFFA can be supportive spouses, partners, friends, parents, children, or coworkers of a transgender or gender diverse person. 

Why Provide Support for SOFFAs?

Whenever someone makes the decision to transition to a gender expression that matches their identity, the lives of that person's loved ones change as well. 

What Kind of Support do SOFFAs Need?

SOFFAs need a safe and confidential space to talk about their own feelings of grief, shock, and fear. They need a place to process feelings with people who are or have been through what they have been through. Because of discrimination toward transgender and gender diverse people, SOFFAs may have a limited number of people in their lives to talk to about the situation.


A note from the librarian... if you are a SOFFA, I want to make sure you know that it is okay to feel all your feels about your experience and this space is for you. I have put together this page because there are not a lot of resources out there for the "Significant Other" part of of the SOFFAs, and your journey is very different from that of a parent or ally. You are welcome here. 

Library Resources

The books below are ones I've personally read. While they are not perfect, and in the case of Boyd's book, some of her terminology is a decade behind, I still felt they were useful for SOFFAs who need to find information written by other SOFFAs or written by trans persons for guidance to their cis partners, or potential partners. If you have any recommendations for the collection, please contact the Women's and Gender Studies Librarian

I am including the following film here because Angelina's partner, Joey, discusses some of the feelings she wrestled with when Angelina came out to her as a transgender woman. It also discusses Angelina's gender exploration, starting with cross dressing, before discovering that she needed begin her transition journey. Not all cross dressers are transgender, of course, but I'm sharing this here to show that this can be a process that takes several years (sometimes decades) of an individual essentially leading two different lives, one as the gender they were assigned at birth (their public persona) and one as the gender they know they are inside. It can be a difficult, heart breaking thing for the cis partner to witness their trans partner struggle with, but it can help to know that you are not alone in this and I hope Angelina and Joey's story will inspire you. 

Web Resources for SOFFAs

The resources below were selected by the Women's and Gender Studies Librarian. Much like the books above, these resources are not perfect, but hopefully they are useful for SOFFAs seeking answers, information, or community. 

Additional Links