Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I Have To Say I Agree

I once read a research paper on Validating and Mirroring for trans people and how it improved the outcome when we transition.

In the paper Witnessing and Mirroring: A Fourteen Stage Model of Transsexual Identity Formation by Aaron H. Devor, PhD, he says
Each of us has a deep need to be witnessed by others for whom we are. Each of us wants to see ourselves mirrored in others’ eyes as we see ourselves. These interactive processes, witnessing and mirroring, are part of everyone’s lives. When they work well, we feel validated and confirmed–our sense of self is reinforced (Poland, 2000). When the messages which one receives back from others do not match how one feels inside, various kinds of psychological distress and maladaptive behaviors can result. When the situation is especially severe it can lead to psychotic and/or suicidal behaviors.
I believe that it is true, we all need to be validated in our true gender and that is why microaggressions hurt so much because it destroys our validation.

So this leads me to this morning’s article…
The Little Things That Only a Trans Girl Can Appreciate
When a transgender woman feels a sense of validation by being included in something that most people take for granted. – “The Weekly Rant” with Mila Madison
Transgender Universe
By Mila Madison
November 13, 2017

What an amazing feeling. It is the moment when someone addresses you with the correct pronoun, a 'she', or even a 'miss', or 'ma’am'. It can be a 'he' or 'sir' for the guys or the more elusive 'they' for our non-binary friends. The feeling of elation we get from the validation. In that brief instance we are seen as we truly are. There are subtle things that can happen throughout a given day that can have profound effects on us as transgender people. For cisgender people, they pay it no mind. And who can blame them? They probably don’t even notice what pronoun someone is using when they are addressed. For most, they never had to even think about gender or the pronouns associated with it. For us as transgender people, it goes beyond pronouns. It can be when someone calls you by the correct name or when you are treated according to the societal norms associated with the gender in which you identify.

There are a million different things I could list. Those little things that make you smile that most people take for granted. Sometimes we attach ideals to experiences we were denied in our former existence, and it means everything to us in circumstances where cisgender people wouldn’t necessarily care. For example, I had always secretly wished I would one day be asked to be in a wedding party. To be able to experience what other women did. To put on that bridesmaid’s dress picked out for me by the bride that most girls dread having to wear. It would be pure bliss to me if I were asked. The same goes for being invited to a bridal or baby shower. To me, it would be validation that other people might see me for whom I am, to be included with the other women. To just be asked to be a part of it. A girl can dream can’t she? So I had hoped and waited until finally it happened.
BINGO! “Sometimes we attach ideals to experiences we were denied in our former existence”

I’ve been lucky, I been to two weddings, a bridal shower and a baby shower. It was an entry into a space that I have never been before and I learned a family tradition that has been passed down through the generations, an old British pence was sown into the hem of the bridal gown or worn in the a shoe.

Other validating spaces I have been we just last week, I go to a lesbian game night where we play board games and I am also going to a “friends of science night” with a group of lesbians next month’s topic is longevity.

This morning I am at Eastern Connecticut State University talking about trans issues in employment.

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