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Dating and internalized transphobia

March 27, 2013

In my last posts I’ve mentioned this guy, H., who I’m sort of dating. He’s absolutely amazing and I can’t believe he’s interested in me. He’s beautiful and kind; a brilliant scholar and a human rights activist. This should be a good thing, but he’s so great that, often, I can’t fathom why he’d want to spend time with me. My self-esteem is usually okay, but it keeps faltering when I think about him, and I think part of it is internalized transphobia.

My self-doubts aren’t only about being trans, of course. I can’t help comparing myself to him and I obviously don’t measure up: he has already changed the world through his work –this is not an exaggeration– while my biggest accomplishments are getting good grades and staying alive. Oh, and impromptu singing/dancing performances in public spaces.

But a large part of my insecurity does stem from being trans. Surprisingly, it isn’t only about my body: somehow, I’ve discovered entirely new things to be insecure about! (My body is part of it, though. It doesn’t make sense because I like my body, and so does H, but I can’t help feeling that I’m letting him down.)

I’ve always been proud about my past and felt glad that it led me towards feminism, the trans community and friendships with lesbians. I still am, but it’s glaringly obvious that my place in the world is very different from cis gays like H. We belong to the same community, but we experience it in diverging ways. I don’t know if I’ll ever be accepted as “one of the fags” –people might always see me as just trans– and my solidarity is strongest towards dykes and trans folks. And even beyond the community, in our everyday lives, being trans makes me different: I inevitably have endo or gyno appointments, endless name-change paperwork, trans guy meetings…

And that’s okay, but sometimes it feels like I fall short, you know? I can’t help thinking: here’s this guy who could choose from a large selection of men, so why would he settle for an anonymous trans dude? If he could pick someone similar to him, why did he go for someone different? I know this reasoning is deeply transphobic and difference-phobic; I know we the trans people are not lesser than anyone, and that any relationship involves overcoming differences. So I’m working hard to remind myself. And I’m trying to relax and enjoy being with H, because –whatever my worries– he does seem to like me.

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