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Sarvesh's Journey - Internalized Phobias and Coping Mechanisms

Continuing from last time, internalized transphobia and homophobia were ingrained in my mind. In spite of having a supportive family, societal stigmas did not allow me to accept my true identity.

But the person who I was inside could never change. So to cope with them, I would act feminine when I was alone.

Dreaming about fairytales where I was a princess, but I never let anyone else find out.

Once Snapchat launched and had a bunch of filters, it became my coping mechanism. I clicked so many pictures with all the different filters. The girlier the filter, the happier I was.

In front of people, I used to feign being "irritated" at being called girly or having those pictures clicked of me. But internally I felt so happy.

I found a nail paint that was washable and so I secretly bought that and would apply it when I was alone feeling so much joy, but as I washed it off, I felt sad that this part of me would always have to be hidden.

On a trip once, I spent the whole day wearing a hat that had ponytails acting as if it were just a harmless joke, but becoming sad once the day was over and the hat came off.

I took interest in all my female friends' clothes, makeup, nail paint, etc, so much so that I probably knew more than most of them. While I saw this as something I was dreaming of one day being able to use myself, some relatives (in good spirits) said that this would help me be a better husband to my future wife.

When I was 17, a couple of friends told me that it is ok if I did not align with my assigned gender, "it is ok to be trans" they said. While that should have brought me happiness, it just made me feel guilty. At the moment my internalized transphobia was too powerful and I just felt angry at my friends for even saying such a thing. It was the perfectly right thing to say. But I was just not ready to hear it.

By the age of 20, I started getting more awareness about LGBTQ topics. A friend came out as non-binary and for the first time in my life, I personally knew someone who is LGBTQ. I remember seeing a poem they wrote and just crying uncontrollably. That video reminded me to love myself for who I am!

Found a few people who were allies. June 2020 was the first time I found out about pride month. So many social media posts about the LGBTQ community helped me slowly accept that being LGBTQ is not wrong at all. Watching TV shows like Brooklyn 99 and Schitt's Creek further helped me. I remember the quote from Brooklyn 99 by Captain Raymond Holt, "Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place."

On 3rd July 2020, my 20th birthday, just a few days after what I now like to call my first Pride month, someone sent me a rainbow cake. Just seeing the rainbow on my birthday, I teared up and accepted my sexual orientation. That was the easier pill to swallow.

After this, there was a lot of accelerated development. As soon as I accepted that I was a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, the resistance to my true sense of gender identity lowered.

Stay tuned to go through the journey of how I broke down the walls of my internalized transphobia and accepted myself fully!

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