Internalized Transphobia

Being pregnant is bringing up all sorts of feelings of internalized transphobia that I haven’t felt or even thought about for YEARS.  At first I was surprised and felt disappointed in myself.

I’ve put in a lot of effort in formal and informal therapeutic work to address some of these issues and I (although irrational) feel like I should be over and done with these feelings.

Throughout this pregnancy I’ve been trying to power through everything with a happy face, but lately I think everything is finally catching up to me.  I’ve been trying to tell myself that everything is great and being a pregnant man is easy!

The problem is things are getting harder.  There are rumors about me at work, I’m starting to be read as female more in public, my family has been annoying me……..And I’m not feeling very strong right now.  When I think about being vocal and addressing some of these issues, even simple things like correcting pronouns, I just want to hide and seem to turn into this weak, apologetic person whose gender identity doesn’t deserve to be validated.

I found this interesting activity online that one transman did to work though some of his internalized transphobia.  Rather than focusing on defining transphobia and how that played out in his life he focused on his individual beliefs and myths that comprised transphobia.  He made a list of myths that diminished his self-esteem and self-worth.  Next he rewrote his personal myths, picking them apart and making his personal belief system more positive.

For example:

Myth #1
My lack of a penis means I’m not really a man.

Rewrites:
My lack of a penis means that I’m not a typical man.
My lack of a penis has no bearing on my manhood.

I really like this idea so I wanted to do some transmale pregnancy related work.  Here are some of my Myths:

  • My desire to be pregnant means I’m not (or was never) a real FTM.
  • Because I don’t hate every minute of pregnancy I’m not really a man.
  • I shouldn’t expect others in public to use male pronouns for me (or when I ask) because I am obviously pregnant and no “real” man can be pregnant.

Rewrites: 

  • My biological ability to be the gestational parent has nothing to do with my gender identity.
  • Pregnant people come in all gender identities and gender expressions.
  • My desire to have a family (and go to great lengths to make that possible) does not diminish my male identity.
  • I deserve to have my gender identity validated in public settings.

This is just a starting place, but I’m going to keep thinking about my rewrites and make them part of some mental affirmations or something.

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6 thoughts on “Internalized Transphobia

  1. What a great idea! And all of your rewrites are wonderful! I think your choice to go to any legnth necessary to become a father shows you are more of a man, not less, so try not to be too hard on yourself. You are doing a great job at creating a family, and you have EVERY right to correct pronouns regardless of you being the gestational parent or not, that is a matter of others being respectful of you and who you are no matter what. Great job dad.

  2. I like your rewrites. I definitely experience something similar to your first one, though reversed in time — i.e. I use my past much-sought-after and hard-won pregnancy as evidence that I must be wrong about my gender now.

  3. I can’t imagine how the wild hormones coursing through your body right now are affecting these already complicated feelings. You are facing the issues head-on, which I’m sure will be helpful in dealing with them. I especially like this reframing statement:

    * My desire to have a family (and go to great lengths to make that possible) does not diminish my male identity.

    Beautiful and absolutely true.

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