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Tulpa struggles with internalized homophobia


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(edited)

Thread was previously called:

Tulpa insecure about being the opposite gender from host

 

This has been a problem for a while, but we haven't felt the need to address it until just now when I thought "why not?" Even a minor problem is still a problem and could get worse over time so better to do something about it now.

 

So, Desmond has always been male. I don't remember him having any issue with his identity as such when he was a lot younger, and I can't pinpoint when this issue began, but he's been feeling insecure about his own masculinity and gender due to it being the opposite from mine. He doesn't want to be seen as female in any sense and it's gotten in the way of switching, he doesn't want to look outwardly female. When someone calls him with masculine terms (man, dude, husband, dad) he gets a good dose of what I can only describe as gender euphoria, even though it's a common occurance and has happened throughout his life. He can't enjoy things he used to because he fears it's too feminine, such as nail polish and eyeliner. He's easily offended if someone insinuates that he's somehow feminine. One might say his masculinity is fragile. It causes him anxiety and he regularly has a small crisis over minor things, like hairstyle and clothing, or even his height. 

 

I want to help him feel more secure in his gender and help him enjoy what he wants to do without it causing so much unnecessary distress, but I just don't know what to do at all. I've never had to personally deal with anything gender related since I've always been comfortable in my own skin. Any insight into these things is appreciated. 

Edited by CM
Edited the title to be more relevant to the conversation

CM - She/them - 30th April 1997 - Host of the system

Desmond - He/him - 21st April 2014

L - He/him - 5th May 2014

Nevira - She/her - 14th December 2014

Misa - She/her - 5th December 2015

Roska - He/him - 22nd July 2019

Danyla - They/them - 13th July 2020

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ZenAndMika
(edited)

A difficult topic to broach but I'll take a crack at it.

 

For a start I would question them about whether they actually think something is wrong. You're basically asking someone to unlearn some toxic-masculinity traits here, and the thing about changing anyone's mind is that it usually doesn't work unless they're willing (though I have had some better results on this front with my tulpa on certain topics specifically because of the closeness of our thoughts.). So start with that question and ask them if it's something they're willing to put in the effort to explore. Ask for the reasons they are feeling the way they feel as well, whether it's actually because they don't feel manly enough, or don't feel separate enough from you or some other reason.

 

From there it's essentially a potentially long process of challenging their biases in a way that is hopefully not confrontational.

 

If the root cause is specifically their sense of masculinity rather than anything else, discuss traits he views as male or female and why if those traits were completely missing from the opposite gender it would make them a lesser person, even malevolent in some cases. Try to point out to the best of your ability that masculinity and femininity are at the end of the day a false dichotomy. Men and women have some subtle brain chemistry differences, mostly in regards to hormone level fluctuation and levels of risk aversion, but by and large the things we learn to do as male or female are indeed, learned, and have nothing to do with actually playing to our biological natures. Perhaps also point out examples of men who integrate feminine traits into their lives without compromising their personal sense of masculinity or losing the respect of those around them. Example below.

 

 

Keep in mind that that is only advice for if this originates in their sense of masculinity. If they have another core reason you may have to address it some other way, but generally speaking I find the way boils down to letting them talk about it in detail to you, you nodding supportively, and pointing out any flaws in their beliefs while avoiding hurting their feelings or making them defensive.

Edited by ZenAndMika

Zen - Host 

Mika - Tulpa

If text is uncoloured, presume Zen is talking.

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Thank you for the reply! Very in-depth, I appreciate it. 

 

It's kinda weird in a way, he's incredibly supportive of other people being themselves in any way that they feel, and doesn't think men who wear nail polish and eyeliner for example are any less manly. He's very good with his non-binary child Danyla who identifies partly as a boy but likes to present feminine, he even started to use nail polish again to show them that it's okay. It's only when it comes to himself that he feels insecure.

 

I've also wondered if it has something to do with some kind of internalized homophobia, he doesn't want to "look as gay as he is" but is supportive of other people who do what they want. It's a shame he feels these things 'cause it stops him from being happy and comfortable as himself. 

 

We'll be playing therapist with this subject, discussing and talking and venting, hopefully that will make it easier on him in time. 

CM - She/them - 30th April 1997 - Host of the system

Desmond - He/him - 21st April 2014

L - He/him - 5th May 2014

Nevira - She/her - 14th December 2014

Misa - She/her - 5th December 2015

Roska - He/him - 22nd July 2019

Danyla - They/them - 13th July 2020

Progress report  Art thread  Our lounge thread

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Ranger

I don't agree wanting to be thought of as he/him is toxic masculinity in any way. Acting entitled to do things that disadvantage others and use being a man as an excuse is what I think of as "toxic masculinity".

 

I personally go through a similar struggle. I feel incredibly uncomfortable when people refer to me as she/her, I don't have any desire to wear nail polish or girly shirts (maybe as a joke? But outside of that, no thank you), I feel incredibly embarrassed in a dress, and I feel really accepted when someone refers to me as he/him. I haven't hit a point where I'm too uncomfortable to switch because I feel like the body is the wrong gender though.

 

I have the luxary of Cat considering experimenting with how we dress because she sees herself as gender-fluid. It's not an option right now because she doesn't want to explain to her parents she's gender-fluid, but I don't really care about being called he/him from Cat's parents. I would like to dress and hopefully sound male or even gender neutral around other people I take classes with and hang out with.

 

I feel like requesting to be called he/him isn't a huge ask. While I agree that it shouldn't matter, it's sadly inconsistent with how I feel. I can't control that I don't feel comfortable with wearing what I deem as girly clothes, and even if I could condition myself too... I don't like the idea.

I'm Ranger, Gray's/Cat_ShadowGriffin's tulpa, and I love hippos! I also like cake and chatting about stuff.

My other headmates have their own account now.

Temporary Log | Switching LogcBox | Yay! | Bre Translator

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Desmond

Yes, he/him please, that's the one thing I didn't enjoy about the first reply to this, being called they/them throughout.

The thing is I'd actually like to be able to wear nail polish, and maybe some eyeliner, maybe a light pink sweater now and then. But my mind's basically calling me the f-slur if I try. Host doesn't wear a bra (tmi?) or very feminine clothes, no make up no nail polish no fancy hairdo's, so switching into that isn't that bad I suppose, but it's still the voice, the height, the body shape that bother me a lot. I can't stand seeing our reflection. It feels wrong, it's not "me".

I've tried explaining this away by saying something like "I just don't like that style", but I do, I want to do these things and I want to enjoy it. But then, I don't want to be seen as feminine when I do it. Why not? I don't know, I want to feel like I'm still "manly enough" and not an "f-slur" or effeminate. Nothing from with being a feminine guy, I just.. don't want to be that.

CM - 30th April 1997 - Host of the system

Desmond - He/him - 21st April 2014

L - He/him - 5th May 2014

Nevira - She/her - 14th December 2014

Misa - She/her - 5th December 2015

Roska - He/him - 22nd July 2019

Danyla - They/them - 13th July 2020

Progress report  Art thread  Our lounge thread

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Ranger

If you want fabulous hair and nails, you rock on dude! I'm wondering if I'm actually more straight leaning, I prefer some stereotypical male things and I'm interested in girls.

 

I'm sorry I don't have much advice beyond that. If you feel awesome with eyeliner and nails, that doesn't mean you're a woman. I personally feel different if I did it, but that doesn't mean it applies to everyone.

I'm Ranger, Gray's/Cat_ShadowGriffin's tulpa, and I love hippos! I also like cake and chatting about stuff.

My other headmates have their own account now.

Temporary Log | Switching LogcBox | Yay! | Bre Translator

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ZenAndMika
29 minutes ago, Desmond said:

Yes, he/him please

Apologies, I've noticed this is something I do when addressing anyone in the third person, especially in text, including my own tulpa. I've noticed when I do this I am using "They" as in "They are the specimen/object of discussion." and that I do totally use this as an emotionally distancing, slightly dehumanizing, academic reflex. So I apologize, it is an issue I have.

 

As others have said, basically the idea of disliking traditionally girly things isn't a problem. The reason I jumped straight to the idea of toxic masculinity was this statement:

 

6 hours ago, CM said:

He's easily offended if someone insinuates that he's somehow feminine. One might say his masculinity is fragile. It causes him anxiety and he regularly has a small crisis over minor things, like hairstyle and clothing, or even his height. 

 

Judging by your response and the follow-up from your host, however, that sounds more specifically like a form of internalized homophobia (which can be considered a subset of toxic masculinity by some). As a bisexual it's my understanding that it is an extremely common experience, yet tends to manifest radically differently for different people. For me it was about a mixed fear of rejection and the sense that acknowledging homosexuality would fundamentally make me weaker.

 

It can be difficult to work through such, but for me I would say two things above anything else assisted me. Your root baggage may of course vary.

  • Get the opinions of people you feel safe talking to regarding this. Headmates are the obvious one, but naturally you may want to consider talking in some LGBT circles too, or other allies and friends. The more you allow yourself to be taught by your peer group that liking certain things will not result in rejection, the easier it becomes to accept those things about yourself.
  • Practice self awareness, think as critically as possible about your negative reactions as you can. For me, I eventually came to the understanding that a strong and unrepentant sense of what I want is pretty much the pinnacle of the masculine ideal, regardless of what that thing is. Proverbial "Real Men"(tm) pursue what they pursue and are generally encouraged to rock the boat in terms of acting against what society expects. Remember, Real Men Wear Pink, and Cool People Rebel Against Authority.

Zen - Host 

Mika - Tulpa

If text is uncoloured, presume Zen is talking.

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Desmond
15 minutes ago, ZenAndMika said:

Judging by your response and the follow-up from your host, however, that sounds more specifically like a form of internalized homophobia

 

Host has brought this up before but I've always denied it, but it makes too much sense to ignore it... It feels bad to be associated with homophobia, internalized or otherwise, even just the word alone, so I didn't want to. But I guess it is what it is, all the more reason to try to fix it.

It feels dumb, I've been openly gay for what, 5, 6 years? I married a dude and that's no secret. To still struggle with something like this just feels stupid.

 

22 minutes ago, ZenAndMika said:

For me it was about a mixed fear of rejection and the sense that acknowledging homosexuality would fundamentally make me weaker


Oof, that hits close to home... I used to have that fear of rejection at one point. Still do sometimes, but it's gotten a bit better. And the second part as well, though not very strongly, it's in the back of my mind.

 

Makes me wonder if my not being attracted to men that "look or sound gay" is part of this, or if it's just my type to like more "straight passing" guys... Shit, I don't know... Could be? Makes me feel like a bad person somehow.

 

36 minutes ago, ZenAndMika said:

 

Thanks for this, those phrases alone made me feel a bit better about things.

CM - 30th April 1997 - Host of the system

Desmond - He/him - 21st April 2014

L - He/him - 5th May 2014

Nevira - She/her - 14th December 2014

Misa - She/her - 5th December 2015

Roska - He/him - 22nd July 2019

Danyla - They/them - 13th July 2020

Progress report  Art thread  Our lounge thread

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ZenAndMika
(edited)
3 hours ago, Desmond said:

Host has brought this up before but I've always denied it, but it makes too much sense to ignore it... It feels bad to be associated with homophobia, internalized or otherwise, even just the word alone, so I didn't want to. But I guess it is what it is, all the more reason to try to fix it.

It feels dumb, I've been openly gay for what, 5, 6 years? I married a dude and that's no secret. To still struggle with something like this just feels stupid.

Don't feel too bad about the length of time. It was a similar period of years for me. I selectively came out in high school and didn't really become comfortable and confident in myself in the way I am now until mid-way through university. Realizing and accepting you're queer in some way is really just the first step, because most people still have all that cultural training embedded in their memory that gays are passive, weak, servile and effeminate and automatically start to compensate unless they catch themselves doing it. It's one thing to accept you have a trait you might consider at least partially negative at the time; it's quite another to change your belief structure so that it is no longer negative.

 

For me I went through several layers of self-denial and flimsy justification a little something like this:

  1. "I only like some, really girly men, that's not gay right!? HaHAha..."
  2. then "I still mostly like women so I'm still mostly straight."
  3. then "I'm a female-leaning bisexual..."
  4. then "...But there's a special sort of comradery and intimacy in a relationship that I only experience when I'm with men..."
  5. and finally to the present "Look. Place all of the bears in existence onto my body. I wish to drown in bears. Be gay, do crimes!"

Which brings me on to...

 

3 hours ago, Desmond said:

Makes me wonder if my not being attracted to men that "look or sound gay" is part of this, or if it's just my type to like more "straight passing" guys... Shit, I don't know... Could be? Makes me feel like a bad person somehow.

Maybe, it's possible. Don't sweat it though. Tastes can and do stem from held beliefs and cultural expectations - but that stuff is a degree removed from your control after it's passed through your unconscious. For me the above path was actually true throughout - It wasn't a lie that initially I only experienced attraction to effeminate men and women, (though I did view it unhealthily) and eventually that shifted through exploration towards an acceptance of more masculine traits in both men and women.

 

Remind yourself that you cannot control who you are attracted to or force matters of the heart. You can only work on the underlying beliefs and changing them might alter your tastes or it might not, and it doesn't matter. It's perfectly fine for your sexuality to shift around, or stay static, and you owe no one attraction by default.

Edited by ZenAndMika

Zen - Host 

Mika - Tulpa

If text is uncoloured, presume Zen is talking.

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  • CM changed the title to Tulpa struggles with internalized homophobia
Desmond

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer this thread @ZenAndMika, it has been... Eye-opening. The more we dug into the idea of internalized homophobia the more evidence we found to support it. It was tough to admit it but I feel a lot better for doing so. More details on that in our PR. It's like a weight has been lifted off me now that I know there's a reason behind me feeling the way I do, I have something to work on now. So thank you, seriously.

 

Host edited the thread's title to reflect what's been discussed here rather than the original post, we feel like it makes more sense that way. 

 

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks and to kinda give some closure on the subject I guess. I feel better, life goes on, and hopefully this means that one day I can finally be comfortable being myself. 

CM - 30th April 1997 - Host of the system

Desmond - He/him - 21st April 2014

L - He/him - 5th May 2014

Nevira - She/her - 14th December 2014

Misa - She/her - 5th December 2015

Roska - He/him - 22nd July 2019

Danyla - They/them - 13th July 2020

Progress report  Art thread  Our lounge thread

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