On Internalized Transphobia and Self Love

While I was on Tumblr the other day, I came across this quote from a femme who had just gotten married:

“I was going to say I didn’t know what I did to deserve this love but really, I do know. I honored myself and I made a conscious decision to stop settling for less than I desired and deserved and loved myself in a way that commanded that kind of love back.

Emphasis is mine.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about self-love.

Specifically, I’ve been thinking about how I still have a lot of work left to do in that department.

I had something of a revelation over breakfast the other morning: When I come across someone, whether platonically or romantically, who understands, accepts, and supports my identity and my physical expression thereof (i.e., my choice to have had top surgery, etc), I tend to automatically think that that person is a great, wonderful person.  I tend to automatically feel lucky and relieved that they are able to “get” me.  Granted, these people often are wonderful people whose company I thoroughly enjoy, but it is very telling that I feel that these people are automatically worthy of some kind of praise and gratitude on my part just for liking me the way I am.

When I ask myself why this is the case, I don’t like my answer.  I like it even less because I know it is true and I don’t want it to be.

…It’s because some part of me, deep down, still feels fundamentally unworthy of love.  Some part of me still feels like I’m weird and broken and wrong.  Some part of me still feels like it takes some kind of act of god for someone to really love me just the way I am. Some kind of act of god for someone to truly love my gay-boi, butch self. Some kind of act of god for a lover to find my chest not just acceptable but great and sexy.

When I find people who do seem to be able to appreciate me in some or all of those ways, I almost instantaneously feel quite attached to them.  I put them on something of a pedestal.  I let them get away with things that I wouldn’t let others get away with.  When we have conflicts, I am always looking for what I did “wrong” and being quick to apologize for those “transgressions”.

I look at the person like a rare, precious gem that I am oh-so-lucky to have in my life.

In other words, I take a person’s ability to love and appreciate me as I am as some kind of exceptional quality of that person, rather than seeing it as the bare minimum of what I should expect from everyone.

I don’t know yet what to do with this revelation.  I don’t know yet how to love myself truly and completely.  I don’t know yet how to work through all of this internalized transphobia that makes me feel like I am unworthy of such basic respect and care.

I do know, though, that I am going to commit the next year of my life to figuring this out.  I’ve decided that 2012 is going to be my year of being committed to myself, my year of being committed to learning how to love myself in the way I deserve to be loved.

I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I do know that, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m on exactly the right path.


About butchonbutch

A 20-something year old butch who has recently come to terms with their attraction to other butches (and studs and tomboys and androgynous dykes). I'll be discussing my experiences in the world of butch on butch dating, love, and sex. If you want to know more about me, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.

Posted on February 23, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Wow, your revelation is so profound. I can see myself in it, for different reasons, and also trans women I have loved. It’s a unique and challenging journey for those who are told by society, and sometimes by their own clan, that there is something about them that is unacceptable.

    Rock on little butch.

    • I always look forward to your comments! 🙂 Thank you for the kind words. It is indeed very challenging to try to dismantle all the things you’ve been told while growing up. It can be really unsettling to realize that so many of the things you’ve been told by the world just aren’t true.

  2. Thank you so much for posting this. I’m not sure I have the words to express just how much I love what you’ve written, what you’ve come to realize (what I need to realize in my own life). In short, you rock and I find you and your writing inspiring.

    That is all.

  3. Wow I love this reflection on what excitement over the respect that others take for granted means in your life! This actually reminds me of a conversation I recently about the lack of positive female-masculinity in lesbian movies (even ones I love!)

    My name is Rischa I’m a lesbian, doing research with our community.
    I am passionate about research because professionals use studies like this one to make decisions about our health care.

    I was hoping that you would want to get involved, especially by spreading the word on FB, Blogs, (real friends) Etc.

    For this study, we are looking for women (trans-community included) 18 years of age or older, who self-identify as lesbian, bisexual, queer, or questioning (LBQ). The purpose of this study is to learn about gender presentation and substance use in LBQ women.


    This study had been approved by the St. John’s University IRB. Thank you for your time.

  1. Pingback: Blog Brothers « My Life with Tits

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