The Transphobe in the Mirror

My whole life, I have been trying to forgive myself for being transgender. I am now starting to realize that there is nothing to apologize for.

I’ve been struggling with my own internalized transphobia. 

I am constantly fighting the feeling that there is something wrong with me, the feeling that I should be ashamed. I am often caught saying “I’m transgender” with a tone that reflects a terrible confession. When I introduce myself, I often sound unsure of my own name: Emily?

I am complicit in my own oppression, putting the comforts of other before my own rights

Because I feel sub-human inside, I act like I don’t deserve fair treatment. I let my friends misgender me because I don’t look the part. I let a friend call me a “fucking tranny” in a room full people, and I barely said anything. I feel guilty when strangers gender me correctly because I don’t feel like I deserve it; It’s superficial. 

I’m out of the closet and into the confines of self-denial. 

When people do respect my human rights, we say “oh that’s so nice and great of them.” As if people deserve a medal for showing human decency. Transphobia is so typical that civility has become the exception. Friends applaud and honor my parents for how wonderful they have been for putting up with my condition, as if rejection is normal. 

It’s so hard to express yourself when you’ve been taught to repress your identity. 

I’m frequently afraid to present as a woman because I’m afraid I will justify hate against me. When I go out, I expect people to think negatively about me because I feel I deserve it. Every gaze hurts because I can see my own thoughts and insecurities in a stranger’s eyes. The self loathing is exhausting. It’s hard to condemn someone for feeling uncomfortable when I’m the one who feels like a monster. 

The Key to overcoming my transphobia comes from embracing who I am. We cannot be sorry for who we are. Instead, we need to demand more from those around us.

There is nothing to forgive.  

~Emily (typed confidently) 

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3 Responses to The Transphobe in the Mirror

  1. I’m so happy for you!

    I think one of the best things I ever did for myself was to forgive myself out loud for being transgender and feeling the way I feel. I also forgave myself for feeling so much guilt and shame about who I am. Not that being trans is something we should feel guilty about, but it was super helpful to acknowledge the shame and give myself space to let go of it. Even if it’s just from ourselves, I think psychologically we all need formal apologies/forgiveness.

    • Emily Ann Smith says:

      I really look forward to the day when I can forgive myself for all the guilt I have incurred over this short lifetime.

      • Well, even if you don’t “feel” ready to forgive yourself, it can be helpful to go through a forgiveness process out loud to yourself. Just saying/hearing the words can be helpful in itself and useful in moving toward full self-forgiveness. I’m not there all the way, but I’ve at least begun the process. 🙂

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