Accepting yourself

Psychologist's comment. LGBT personal experience
Maria Naymushina
a psychologist of LGBT-group "Raduzhny mir"
The adoption process can be divided into two stages. The first stage is to understand yourself. The second one is to accept. For example, you constantly feel that something is wrong. You are 35 years old, you are not married, and people return it all the time to you: "Listen, what's the matter with you?" And you explain to yourself that you have not yet found that "very" woman. And they say to you: "Listen, but maybe you are a gay?" And suddenly you stop, listen to yourself and think: "And this is true ..." This is the first step. The understanding.

Then the acceptance stage goes, and here everything happens very differently. A person faces the choice: either unclear consequences that he will face, abandoning himself, or unclear consequences that he will face if he chooses an unusual way. Someone chooses himself, someone - stereotypes, and each of these choices is true for a particular person in a particular moment of time.

It is easier for those who have managed to deal with self-identification during the teenage rebellion period. The separator protest mood determines the development vector. Brain activity changes. Everything is aimed at protest, and in this state it is easier to accept yourself, to search for alternatives. However, here it may happen in different ways. Sometimes it happens that a child reaches the adolescence physiologically, but not psychologically, and still cannot understand why he wants to die.

Of course, here is some kind of inner freedom, when you accept your desire to do what you want without relying on stereotypes. Someone calls this intuition, someone awareness, someone attentiveness to yourself. But internal freedom cannot be brought up alone with yourself. It arises and is brought up in relationships with significant, close adults. It's like a stencil that you put on, and it is adopted as a "norm".

It is very difficult to accept yourself without an understanding, accepting and non-estimating person nearby. Theoretically, a parent becomes such a person. Unfortunately, few parents are ready to play this role. Another option is a psychologist. But also not any. Once, as a psychologist, I encountered LGBT adolescents who tried to commit suicide, and I did not know what to do. I began searching for information, got into Elena Klimova's project "Children-404" ...

The universal advice, probably, is the following: look for as much information, points of view as possible. Just see which one is closer. As teenagers from the project "Children-404" said: "I am reading the story and I understand that it is about me." One must search for the truth that responds.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
The feeling of who I am has been since realizing myself as a person. Probably since my childhood. I was attracted to the clothes and games that were not standard for boys. I learned about the opportunity to change the gender when I was 10 years old, but I was not sure that I would do this. When I grew up, I tried to change. I visited a prostitute, but I had no interest. In the end, I weighed all the pros and cons: either I want to live, hiding who I am, torturing myself and others, or want to live happily, though lonely? I've took a conscious leap to the precipice. I had two apartments, a car, I had friends from high society - but I refused from all this. And I am happy that I got to a safe country, where I started life from scratch.
Nicole, Azerbaijan - Netherlands
At 22 I began realizing that everything was going wrong and I seemed to be moving backwards all the time. I tried to correct myself, to be "like everyone else", to meet the expectations of my mom and society. I understood: it's like cutting yourself and shoving a hand into the fire to heal a wound. It seems to me that at that time I finally began to accept my pansexuality. It was a pleasant and turning point when I began trusting myself, surrounding people, people close to me, to get acquainted with those who understand me, who will not put pressure on me and say that this will pass, that this is a puberty and "this is because you had no normal guy".

Of course, the Internet helped. And my friend, with whom I "got out" my feelings and emotions, analyzed them also helped.
Nastya, Uzbekistan
I grew up at the time when there was no Internet yet. I began to understand the fact that "something was wrong" with me at the age of 12. We lived in a small town with a population of just over one hundred thousand people. The only thing I knew was that the "fagot" was a very bad person. The process of accepting myself in this atmosphere took a long time, until the age of 17. Only at this age I could admit to myself that I was a gay and did not experience disgust. When the Internet came to my house, I was "googling" a lot the information about this subject, though there was not so much of such information. At that time I did not find anything about "Being a gay is a variant of the norm.
Alexander, Russia – Latvia
And then I realized that I had feelings to her. I did not want to call it something, it was very fearful. I thought: "The society is homophobic, the friends and girlfriends will turn away, my mom wants to have grandchildren: she would definitely kick me out of the house. I will be alone, alone with my lesbian nature." Then I didn't even suspect that there is a community, there are people who are ready to support, accept, share experience.

It was a difficult process. It was a constant challenge of my own opinion and experience, internal disputes about whether I need it. I started seeking information. I read VKontakte groups or Facebook, surveys, articles, notes, personal stories. This helped to admit the very idea that I was a lesbian. Plus, the internal deviant rebel played its role: I wanted to realize myself as soon as possible and shout what I were and who I were.

Finally, I myself "sold" the idea of how important it is to call a spade a spade. And everything fell into place. I began to say that I was "in the family". Fears have gone. Except for those associated with violence from homophobes - they can beat in any case, whether I accept myself or not.
Helena, Kazakhstan
The process of accepting yourself began as a teenager and lasted for about 10 years. It was like a float lever. Either I understand that the greatest happiness is to be yourself, give loose to my feelings and recognize the existence of own desires. Or I ask myself questions: what with relatives? my mom? what about children? In the end, I realized: there is no sense in fighting with the obvious, and I may not lie at least to myself.

My advice is to listen to yourself. Make plans based on what is inside you, and not on something that someone needs, though this someone is your relative. The one who loves you will always say: "I will love you no matter who you are." I never heard this phrase in my family.
Mikhail, Russia
Text: Vladimir Sokolov, Mikhail Danilovich, Anastasia Sechina. Translation into English: Irina Galina.