Coming to a place of self-acceptance?

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  • #91595
    Josie Angel

    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.

    Please share your stories about coming to a place of self-love/self-acceptance.  What resources have you found helpful?

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    • #100321

      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.

    • #100274

      You have to hold your head up high, you have to come to a place of being honest with yourself.  You think you are “out”; your not out, you found a little micro-environments of acceptance and safety.  Within these special environments you are out and accepting of yourself.  You as I have spent years finding little niches of belonging.  You as well as I don’t dance the “Happy Girl” dance in a cowboy bar at Texas A&M. (I studied there for a while)

      If you really spend some time inside yourself, re-feeling the joy of first cross-dressing, of feeling pretty, of special pleasure in the first time you shaved your legs; I could go on forever.  I first declared myself a girl when I was 4 years old; at that time my parents told me I had to stop acting like a girl because I was a boy.  I have fought that biological control of my gender & emotion ever since.  I have been cross-dressing for 60 years, and I NEVER thought that wasn’t my true self.  My knowing sincerely that I was really a girl has kept me alive for those 60 years.  A very few times I felt shame in my desires to be a woman; all because I allowed the “value structure” of intolerant bigots to momentarily penetrate me.

      I believe one of the secrets of “coming to a place of self-acceptance” is to really work on your own personal “value structure”.  What really is important; what values are worth keeping, embracing, respecting.  I always knew I was really was a girl because of how I expressed love and emotion for just about everything, and that love and emotion came right out of me: the girl.

      I have always been different than most people I hung around with.  34 year military veteran, starting with Viet Nam in 1971, retiring from the army in 2004 after Iraqy Freedom.  I lived in a man’s world, but I was always a girl in value structure & emotion.

      So where am I going with this:  I have always known I was a girl, and I always accepted that I was a girl.  I just didn’t let restriction such as my body is “male” interfere with my truths; really no different than the restrictions one feels when in a cowboy bar at Texas A&M.  In 1952 I couldn’t physically be a girl, and that restriction lasted until a few years ago.  I took care of myself by not initiating battles I was sure to lose, by never not believing in my girl and how that girl was not only normal, but a good person with love to share.

      First: you have to “come to a place of self acceptance” in your own mind and heart.  Own that place, believe in that place, let that place guide you, never look back.  Second: Transgender acceptance in society has a long way to go, so don’t go where you will get hurt physically or mentally.  Third: Lead a good life, let more and more people know you are transgender, a few here and there; let acceptance grow through your actions and deeds. Even do this carefully. Forth and finally: don’t do stuff you actually are ashamed of, build that “value structure” and let it help you in times of temptation.  It is called “Cognitive Dissonance” when your own heart & mind tell you what your doing is wrong.  But make sure it is your “Cognitive Dissonance”, a result of your “value structure”; not the uninformed, or the intolerant, or the ignorant.

      We are all in a place of self acceptance.  The real work is learning to grow the size of that place.


      Lukcia Patricia Sullivan

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    • #100262

      I am only coming to acceptance by people accepting me.  I still sometimes feel the shame and self-loathing, but then I remember my friends, family and colleagues all accept me, so  I need to accept myself.

      I now truly understand what Pride is.  Pride is a celebration, and the opposite of what I have been made to feel and felt for most of my life. One day I hope to get there.

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    • #92348

      Hi, Josie. I love being able to dress the way I really want to because for me it symbolizes not only the woman I want to be full time, it also symbolizes the person I want to be full time. I love Autumn and everything she stands for. She has a good heart. When I say good heart, to me that encompasses every positive adjective that’s typically used to describe a good person. Kindness, empathy, sweet, caring, everything. Someone who smiles, someone who’s polite, who uses words like please and thank you, someone who doesn’t say negative things. That’s Autumn. The woman and person I am in my heart, and the woman and person I want to be full time. So I cherish every moment I’m able to be Autumn. To reach out and share with others, to try and help others, to be able to share things I enjoy that I can’t admit outside of my home. Like the types of movies I enjoy, the ones that still make me cry every time I watch. The types of music I like, the songs that make me cry. Being able to admit that, I care.

      Big Hug


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    • #92341

      I am still working on mine…not as much the dysphoria part, b/c I am on T and am privileged to have insurance that will cover my surgeries. However, for me it is the sexuality part. Many people say Testosterone affects your sexual preferences, and for some sexual attraction. I identified as a lesbian for a long time before I came out as trans, and was married to my wife for 15 years, and she was the only woman I had ever been with, but not the first woman I was ever attracted to. I had dated guys in the past growing up, but never had a sexual encounter with any of them (I was ultra religiously conservative way back in the day) nor did I ever desire to. In fact, I never even masterbated (not for religious reasons, I just was never interested in the concept of heterosexual sex (even a mentor of mine bought a vibrator for me to try when I was 18, and I still didn’t get the point…I was like and this is supposed to do what). However, now I know I am still attracted to women, but I do not know anymore if I really care what she has below the belt. The only male “freebee” I had while I was married was George Clooney…he is the only man I have ever found myself attracted to…even to this day. Probably way too much info, but for me it is the sexuality part that is keeping me from fully knowing myself, and it is hard for me to accept myself without having the sexuality part figured out. Plus, when I suffer from severe depression at times, it makes the concepts of increasing my degree of self-love and self-acceptance feel impossible and challenges the degrees I already have of each, in spite of the sexuality component.

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    • #91635

      I’m not entirely sure i will ever reach complete and genuine self acceptance of myself as transgender.  Or perhaps I have accepted that I am not likely to feel fully comfortable and settled in my gender identity.

      There are days when I almost convince myself that its all a delusion driven by some long buried emotional trauma…simply a manifestation of an behavioral health problem.   But, those days are usually the ones most darkened by periodic bouts of depression.

      I’ve only recently come to recognize that on emotionally brighter days, I don’t worry so much about my legitimacy, and don’t feel obliged to fit into any category.   This comes as something of a revelation.   I have not been using the expression of a feminine gender identity as means of escaping these bouts of depression.   Rather, the ability to accept and express my feminine side returns as my mood improves.

      Kinda turns my whole perspective on its head.


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    • #91634
      Josie Angel

      Thank you for your thoughtful response.  I like the metaphor of peeling the onion.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #91596
      DeeAnn Hopings

      After 6 years of regularly going out (4 to 6 times a week before the virus), sometimes I still get a bit nervous. I think is has to do with anticipating being in an odd situation or among many people that I don’t know. When that happens it is usually confirmed to an extra trip to the bathroom before I leave home. But, it doesn’t stop anything. I think the worry in the background is that I might have missed something in my presentation or something isn’t positioned right. My practice is to talk to my wife for a moment before I leave. That serves 2 purposes. If anything untoward happens, she knows what I was wearing and also it is a last minute check.

      A good friend of mine, who passed away a couple of years ago, told me that she often struggled to feel comfortable when out. Alyce was intersex and she started to embrace her feminine side about the same time as I did. However, she was here and I was still living in New York State at the time. Anyway, she remarked that I seemed very comfortable when out. I had never really thought about it in those terms, but it was a very interesting observation on her part. She was quite insightful and I miss her. We always had interesting times going out to breakfast or lunch or going to thrift shops.

      Later, as I thought about what Alyce had said, I did agree. I was at peace to a degree that allowed me to fit into the mindset that reflected what I thought about myself. I can’t say why that is exactly, but I’ve always been good at compartmentalizing. With that I am often able to focus on something and minimize the “what if” thoughts that can take up a lot of energy and drag me into a less that good place.

      I think one thing that may have helped is that 20+ years ago I came to the thought that I was gay. I became comfortable with that, to the point when I had my first sexual encounter with a man, he was surprised that he was my first. I amended that a few years later when I concluded that I was bisexual. It occurred to me that who I was attracted to wasn’t driven by gender. That was maybe 3rd or 4th on the list instead of being first.

      Ultimately, I think addressing my sexuality made it easier to consider my gender identity. I had been through some serious thought processes that had, and would continue to have, a considerable impact on my life going forward. The first time that I went out dressed, it was similar in that I didn’t feel odd about wearing the clothes. I was somewhat anxious about seeing someone I knew, but how I felt in the clothes wasn’t part of that.

      It would seem to me that deep down there in our minds is information about who we are and how we should be. It is always there waiting to be discovered. I think what we have to do is to keep peeling the onion…

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