Often when trans people look for advice on dealing with internalized transphobia, we find a definition and are told to find a therapist.Â Not finding this helpful for most trans people, I would like to offer an alternative.Â Rather than focus on the definition of transphobia, I would like to concentrate on the individual beliefs, or myths, that comprise transphobia, particularly for gay FTMs.Â Myths shape our thought processes because they are usually firmly held,Â taught to us at a young age and are repeatedly reinforced by the culture we live in.Â Â While you may have come to terms with being trans and have started transitioning, you may still have these myths in place that serve to diminish your self-esteem and self-worth.
The following is a cognitive-based approach that I learned in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and has proven useful for me in combating inner myths that mirrored transphobic cultural ideas.Â Myths are not universal.Â Some of the myths that resonate with me will resonate strongly with you, some will not at all.Â Disregard the ones that don’t apply to you and address the ones that strike a chord, as these myths are the probably the root of your self-hate.Â My list of myths about being an effeminate gay trans man is very personal, as these are the ideas that shaped how I saw and judged myself during the first few years of transition.Â Â I’m sure that you can think of myths that didn’t occur to me or don’t apply to me, so I encourage you to do this in addition to the following exercise.
The next step involves rewriting your personal myths so that you can start to pick them apart and eventually make your personal belief system more positive.Â When you rewrite a myth, it can be anything from subtle change of one word to a complete reorganization of the idea.Â A rewrite should challenge the original myth and be personal.Â I cannot rewrite myths for you, although I will provide examples of rewrites that resonate with me.Â Â Why?Â This is about you and how you see yourself.Â Only you can change this and hopefully you can start here.
My lack of a penis means I’m not really a man.
My lack of a penis means that I’m not a typical man.
My lack of a penis has no bearing on my manhood.
My lack of a penis is not my fault.
I’m only pretending to be a boy.
I’m not pretending to be anything.
I’m being true to myself.
I’m not a real FTM transsexual because I’m too feminine.
FTM transsexuals come in many varieties and I happen to come in the fey, gay and fabulous variety.
My inner sense of being male has no relation to my feminine gender expression.
My attraction to men means I’m not a real FTM.
My attraction to men has nothing to do my gender.
FTMs can be attracted to anyone.
I encourage you to start with these three and see if you can come up with rewrites that resonate with you.Â Below you will find more myths that I compiled in a list for you to start tackling.Â Remember these are personal myths, so there there are no right or wrong ways to rewrite a myth.
â€¢Â Â Â I’m not a real gay man because I was born female.
â€¢Â Â Â I’m just really confused and other people probably know better.
â€¢Â Â Â I must not be a real FTM because I used to wear dresses.
â€¢Â Â Â I like to have sex with my front hole so I must not be a real FTM.
â€¢Â Â Â I’m a freak and don’t deserved to be loved.
â€¢Â Â Â If I could just try harder I would be happier with my assigned sex.
â€¢Â Â Â I must be defective.
â€¢Â Â Â I’m too pretty to be an FTM.
â€¢Â Â Â I’m a fag hag, not a fag.
â€¢Â Â Â When people call me “she” it means they know the real truth.
â€¢Â Â Â Being trans is a choice and my decision to take hormones and have surgery means I’m weak.
â€¢Â Â Â I’m reinforcing the gender binary by transitioning.
â€¢Â Â Â Transitioning is radical and must be done only as a last resort.
â€¢Â Â Â No one will want to date me.
â€¢Â Â Â I’m betraying women by transitioning.
â€¢Â Â Â I’m disgusting.
â€¢Â Â Â I’m buying into the patriarchy by transitioning.
â€¢Â Â Â I’m short and nobody likes short men.
â€¢Â Â Â I have to butch up in order to be a proper FTM.
â€¢Â Â Â I’ll never truly know what it’s like to be a man.
â€¢Â Â Â I’m FTM so I must like girls.
â€¢Â Â Â I’m not a real FTM transsexual if I don’t get bottom surgery.
â€¢Â Â Â My personality will change on hormones and I will become a different person.
â€¢Â Â Â All of my problems stem from my transsexuality.
â€¢Â Â Â I will never be happy.
â€¢Â Â Â I will always be considered a freak.
â€¢Â Â Â I’m never mistaken for a boy, so I must not be a real transsexual.
â€¢Â Â Â To be a successful FTM transsexual, I must pass at all times.
Now the rest is up to you.Â Rewrite as many or as few as you need to.
Please note: I am not a psychologist, a therapist or a mental health counselor.Â My only qualifications include 10 years of therapy, 6 years of transition, an obsession with psychology and a sincere desire to help my fellow trans sisters and brothers come to terms with their genders.Â If this is not helpful, please let me know.Â If it is very helpful, please let me know.Â I am open to all suggestions, comments and concerns, as this is the first time I have attempted this.
Kian has been living as a gay transman for most of his 20s.Â Nerdy, quirky and fey, he often spends his time thinking and writing about gay and trans politics.Â He loves to learn and cook and looks for hairy men who do the same.