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Maximillian staff photo - the image shows Maximillian in front of some trees outdoors and smiling.
August 5, 2022
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If you were to ask me what the biggest barriers to someone transitioning were, I would say unsupportive families and internalised transphobia. We all know a bit about the effect that family can have, but what even is internalised transphobia, and how does it affect people? Well, I’m glad you asked. Strap in, aspiring allies, this is a blog for you!

 

What is it?

Internalised transphobia shows up in many ways. It’s the shouldn’ts and couldn’ts and mustn’ts and can’ts around transition. The ‘not trans enough’ narrative. The self doubt.

When we doubt who we can be, or who we are, it’s easy to feel not good enough. We can all experience this around many things.

Someone trans+ also experiences the added layer of having been brought up in a society that largely ignores, belittles or marginalises trans+ people and their voices. This is part of transphobia.

When someone trans+ has taken in these views and believes them, this is what we refer to as internalised transphobia.

 

Impacts.

Imagine trying to be yourself when there is a little echo of voices at the back of your head saying that it’s wrong to be who you are. When you live in a society where people just like you are attacked in the media, receive death threats online, or are told that you’re all sex offenders.

How might it feel to have that transphobic view of yourself?

Add to that the narrative of the ‘good’ trans+ person, who must always strive to fit in, to pass for a cis person, and to be a model citizen in all ways to make up for being trans+ in the first place, and it gets pretty exhausting.

Internalised transphobia holds people back. It impacts their ability to accept themselves, to have fulfilling relationships and to just get on with their lives more widely.

 

Is there a cure for internalised transphobia?

Yes, allies. There is a lot that a trans+ person can do to combat their own internalised transphobia, but sometimes it starts with a little help.

Accept them as they are.

When someone is accepted without all the caveats and addendums, and can see through you caring about them that they are worth someone else’s time, they have a better chance of challenging their own doubts. In this case, a better chance of countering their internalised transphobia.

 

What else can you do?

Learn about internalised transphobia and the struggles that people can face with this.

Listen to the trans+ people around you when they need to talk, and ask them why they feel that way if they’re talking in a negative way. Validate them where you can. And, as always, compliment them when they look good!

Signpost them to places like Beyond Reflections for further support.

 

Volunteer

Our volunteer application is right here, and we’re always looking for a variety of volunteers (cis and trans+). We have roles such as direct support, social media, and events. So, if you want to give your time, we’ll probably have a role for you.

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