Internalized Transphobia

From Connie and indirectly Emma, we received this comment on the blog post “Saying Hello”:

” I think Emma hit on the main answer by referring to “Internalized Transphobia.” Through our own insecurity, we can often project it on to others. When I first presented my feminine-self to the outside world, it was in association with a trans (mostly cross dresser) group. I quickly learned the rules of trans engagement, and one of the top rules was: Whenever two or more are gathered, the chances for being outed are exponentially increased. Especially when we are out by ourselves, as when shopping, we are often very much aware and self-conscious about being outed. As upsetting as it may be to out oneself (as by the sound of our voice, for example), it would be not-so-cool to press another trans person into a situation that could be upsetting to themselves.
I run across trans women quite frequently when I’m out and about. Even though I am so much more secure with myself than I used to be, even seeing another trans woman is a reminder of my own gender identity and dysphoria. If we should make eye contact, I normally just flash a friendly smile (now hidden behind my N-95 Covid mask, unfortunately), just as I would with anyone else. It’s like being stopped at a four-way-stop intersection when the drivers aren’t sure who was there first, and who should make the first move. Of course, there have also been instances where the other person made a concerted effort to avoid me by making a u-turn (something I’ve never experienced with a cis woman). Years ago, while I was doing a job making late-night deliveries in a small business district , I spotted a young trans woman at an ATM across the street . We were the only people around, and I guess my gaze was a bit obvious. She responded with an enthusiastic flip of the bird. Actually, my only thought was that of admiration for being out at such a young age, but she didn’t know that. We were being influence by each of our internalized transphobias.

I might note here that I have met with Emma once. We had a pleasant happy hour meeting in a busy downtown lounge. Although I don’t think either of us were too much under the influence of transphobia, I remember thinking to myself afterward that we could have talked a lot more about something other than being trans. Perhaps, we’ll meet again some day, without the Covid masks – or the trans masks, either. ;-)”

I think too, so many transgender women or cross dressers are so desperately trying to “present” they don’t want to be recognized and this results in “internalized transphobia ” too.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

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