When we are young, the first place we look toward for validation is our parents and family. If we have a functional family, we get confirmation that we are lovable and loved, and that helps to define a healthy sense of self. It is a natural human habit to look to others, whether family, friends, or loved ones, for validation.
But many of us don’t get that validation early in life, or once it is clear that we are trans, or gender-non-conforming, it can be removed. And, of course, we don’t get the everyday societal validation that is standard for people who are cis and binary presenting. We are getting an increasing amount of validation from media, but it’s a slow beginning, and often problematic.
As trans and gender-expansive folks, there are two places we can look for validation: most importantly, ourselves, as well as our trans and gender-expansive community. Staring with finding validation within ourselves is important.
Learning to love and take care of ourselves is important in learning how to get that validation from ourselves. We can come to know ourselves as valid in our gender, and come to love ourselves as we are, and know we are lovable as we are.
Our community can be a great place for validation, but like any community, there are some places where it’s not as easy as we wish it was. Some in the trans community act as gatekeepers – such as people who believe that you must experience gender dysphoria to be trans (you don’t) or must go through surgery and medical transition to be trans (you don’t.) Some in the trans community are non-binary phobic.
It’s important to find a community that is truly inclusive, and will be supportive no matter what your gender identity or expression. There are lots of them, both locally and online. And remember that no matter what anyone else says, you are lovable and your gender is valid.