Reply To: Coming to a place of self-acceptance?


My therapist told me she believes the reason I feel anxiety and hesitation around any Josie-related activities (doing makeup, dressing en femme, etc.) is because I still have a lot of shame and guilt about being transgender/bi-gender.

Hi Josie! Lawren from CP here.

One of the interesting things to come up at CP was when Kathie talked about “internalized transphobia.” That’s a reference to implicit or unconscious bias that happens because of our exposure to the way society depicts transgender and cross-dressing. For everyone, even transgender folx, we are all exposed to the same portrayals in tv and movies that show trans as psycho-killers, or as a simple comedic ploy, a punch line. Some tv/movies use it for both comedy and titillation, so it takes on a certain erotic, taboo experience.

Most of society has internalized this transphobia, including me. When I first began claiming my gender identity, the backlash from that transphobia was vicious, quick, and severe. It’s gradually softened as I’ve been affirmed by my circles of friends and colleagues (amazing!), as well as my coaches and TGH and CDH.

What they’ve taught me is that I am legitimate. I am valid. And I ride out the backlashes, knowing my authentic self will return to truly and freely express myself.

The internalized transphobia isn’t about you or me. It’s about society’s training. I look for evidence. Evidence that there is science that affirms the possibility of my existence. Evidence of that early training and a clear analysis of that training as a construct and NOT valid in my gender identity. And an understanding that God don’t make no s***. I am one of the chosen ones. I get to experience this entire life, from both sides. What a gift.

My advice? Embrace the backlash, look at it clearly, embrace it so that it feels safe enough to let go for a while. When my raft starts going through the rapids, any resistance is probably not going to help things. My transphobia of myself is understandable, and the mind and heart are malleable. As I learn to harness it, peace, love, and joy come forward.

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