It is one of the greatest feelings. The smile that comes across my face every time someone uses the “she” pronoun when referring to me. It is a reflexive response, one that I have absolutely no control over. I get the same feeling when someone says "miss" or “ma’am” (though it does make me feel a little old). It is a little sad that a simple acknowledgment of who I am, one that most people take for granted and don’t even have to think about in their lives, can automatically make me feel elated. Perhaps it is the result of having been seen as someone who I never truly was all my life? Either way, it never gets old when I hear such words spoken in reference to me. It is always as if I were hearing them for the first time.
In many cases we have to fight for our validation. It usually stems from the purposeful denial of our identities from family members, former friends, religious people, and political groups. These very challenges to our existence are often what causes us to seek validation in the first place. It is the major difference between the bigotry LGBT+ people experience compared to other groups that are oppressed in today’s society. We are faced with having to prove who we are. There are still many people who don’t understand what exactly a transgender person is. We have to educate people to help them understand who we are, and despite the fact that we are standing right in front of them, some will still deny the fact that someone’s gender could be different from what was assigned to them at birth.
“THERE IS ALSO A DARKER PLACE WHERE MANY OF US ACCEPT DIFFERENT FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION JUST BECAUSE WE FIND A SMALL HINT OF VALIDATION IN IT.”
There is also a darker place where many of us accept different forms of discrimination just because we find a small hint of validation in it. When someone assumes I don’t know what I am talking about just because I am female for example. Dealing with sexist attitudes and being offered less pay for the same type of work. These are all clear cases of discrimination that every woman has to deal with, but embarrassingly there is part of me that feels a sense of validation from the experience. Though as a woman this angers me, as a transgender woman I feel validation in the fact that I have to face the same discrimination that any other woman has to face. There is conflict in me when such instances occur. A part of me feels pathetic for feeling the sense of acceptance when I am being persecuted.
As transgender women, so many of us settle for less than we deserve out of fear of not being truly seen for who we are. It can be a relationship with the wrong person, but we tolerate it because they are at least willing to treat us according to our identity. We often find our validation in the worst of places because as transgender people, many of us do not have better options. We are often seen as less than by not only men, but other women as well.
"MY NEED TO FEEL VALIDATED IS A PRODUCT OF MY OWN INSECURITIES."
My need to feel validated is a product of my own insecurities. As strong as I would like to think I am, I have a way of letting society’s madness seep in. I let it affect me. I allow myself to feel invalidated at times. It is not something I am proud to reveal about myself, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel that need for validation.
The truth is that the only validation we really do need is that from ourselves. We are all valid no matter how we identify, and we don’t require anyone’s acknowledgement or approval in order to exist. I hope to reach the point in my journey where I truly get to see myself as valid. A point when I don’t allow people’s views or treatment of me to affect what I see in the mirror. When I no longer have theses insecurities. When I can stand up for myself and all women. Where I am not just happy to be part of the team and content with just being able to sit on the bench. I hope someday I will truly become the person I was meant to be.