Many queer people carry shame deep within us.
This often stems from our childhoods — when we might have been shamed or bullied for being who we are. People might have told us that we're being too much or too little, or that we need to "man up" or be more girly.We can internalise this shame and carry it into our adulthood. This can cause us to repress ourselves, and we might get triggered by other people's expression of their own queer identities.
But we are now adults with the capacity to learn and heal from our emotional history.
Here’s what you can do about it and learn to be your authentic self. 🦋
1. Internalised stigma in queer people often stems from our childhood.
Growing up, we might have received messages that who we are attracted to is immoral, or that our gender identity is not valid. These messages could have been explicitly said to us, or implied through behaviours, actions, or more subtle messaging.
Some of us might’ve been told to man up, or urged to act more feminine. We might also have been shamed for the way we looked, spoke, or dressed.
2. Our feelings of shame can manifest as self-stigma.
Self-stigma is when we have internalised these negative ideals of who we are within us, and struggle to accept who we are.
This can cause us to repress our sexuality or hide our true gender identity. We might be afraid to express ourselves in authentic ways, because we’re afraid of being judged and because we’re judging ourselves.
3. Self-awareness is the first step to releasing our feelings of shame.
We can learn to observe how we view our own identity, and be conscious of how we judge other people’s queerness. Do we find it easy to express our sexuality and gender identity outwardly? Or are we constantly shaming ourselves or others about their queerness?
For example, if you find yourself getting triggered by people who are outwardly queer or camp: Stop, and observe your inner monologue. Why is their authentic self upsetting you?
4. Learn to move towards self-acceptance. Therapy can help.
The truth is that there is nothing inherently wrong with being queer.
Rationally, we might know this, but emotionally, this might be harder for many of us to grasp.
Therapy can help us understand the sources of our triggers. It can help us learn and unpack our emotional history, so we can to move towards self-acceptance and self-love.
“Overcoming Internalised Stigma” is one of the guided therapy programs available on Voda.
Designed with leading LGBTQIA+ psychotherapists, Voda combines mindfulness with cognitive behavioural therapy to develop digital therapy programs centred for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Get early access at Voda.co.