Impostor syndrome is a prominent struggle within the LGBTQIA+ community and refers to an internal conflict where the person engages in a continuous cycle of doubting oneself and the validity of one’s feelings.
If you ask yourself those questions in relation to your identity, you may be experiencing impostor syndrome:
#1: Do I belong here if I’m also part of a demographic that doesn’t usually get discriminated against?
#2: Do I have the right to feel pain for aspects of myself that are not visible to other people?
#3: Can I say that I’m part of the community when I don’t know enough or as much as other people?
#4: Will I be accepted by other members of the community if I don’t conform to my identity?
#5: Am I good enough?
Now you’re wondering where impostor syndrome does come from? Well, it has both external and internal sources.
#1: Engaging with normative societal rules and lack of representation in the media.
#2: Being questioned on your identity and identification by literally everyone you share about this with.
#3: Being rejected by other members of the community as they question your identity, its validity.
#1: Internalized shame and fear of identifying with something outside of societal norms.
#2: Unprocessed [enter identity]phobia towards the community.
#3: Self-doubt that inevitably occurs when questioning any important aspect of daily life (career, decisions, relationships, etc.) including identity.
OK so here’s some bad news: we don’t think you can ever get rid of impostor syndrome but! You can deal with it. Here’s how:
Keep yourself grounded by reminding yourself that no one can oust you from the community that you identify with, even your own doubts. There is no queer police (hello oxymoron…).
Not conforming “enough” to fit within an identity or not being out to people around oneself is often done as a defense mechanism, whether that’s to protect oneself or close ones.
There is no set timer on how much time is allowed for you to question things. Be gentle with yourself in your journey to discovery and don’t get frustrated if it takes longer than other people.
It is unfortunate that the world does not offer us an adequate representation of LGBTQIA+ folks in mainstream media, but don’t let it stop you from seeking it elsewhere. Social media has made it a little easier for marginalized identities to acquire a growingly strong voice.
Don’t give up! The journey to fully accepting oneself is a hard and tedious one with many internal and external struggles, but the payoff is amazing. Keep being curious and keep exploring!