Orange is the New Black is a TV sensation and is, i think, the first time that a show with a transgendered women is not only a main character but also played by someone who is a transgendered woman. So I am including Laverne Cox's "It Get's Better Video" as an addition to this blog today. Her insight and honesty about her own journey is hopefully helpful for anyone struggling with finding truth in themselves.
Life can already make it hard to figure out who you are and what you want to be when you "grow up". Having to add gender & sexuality "confusion" to the mix can be so challenging. Being told and feeling that you are not right or well or good enough how you are is damaging to your own sense of self and how you see your place in the world around you.
I do not know what it is like to be a part of the LGBT community and I will never. What I do know is that when anyone hears something negative about who they are as a person, as part of their identity, again and again, we internalize that as part of us. Internalized hate of self or a part of yourself is so painful and it resonates in Laverne's story. Her wanting to not live anymore was more of a response to disappointment others had in her but mostly the disappointment and dislike she had of herself that grew from others. We are not born hating ourselves.
The rate of suicide in the LGBT communities is 30-40% higher than in the rest of the population. And really, I would think, through my work and through hearing my own friends' journeys, that this is probably higher. It breaks my heart and most of these attempts or "successes” occur in the young formative teen years.
Homophobia is real, painful and damaging.
I work with individuals who find that they struggle with and are challenged by their own thoughts about their gender &/or sexuality as well as the judgement, family isolation, confusion, grief, and exclusion. Finding that truth that Leverne talks about is so key to living. It is so key to learning to like then love yourself again.
~Amira Lodhi, MSW