Hate or love? Favoritism or tolerance? Which one do you choose, and is it a consistent choice? We are all capable of discovering the dark side of human nature, but we often forget how much we have hurt ourselves, let alone others. So, how do you fight homophobia internally?
What is internalized homophobia?
If you look at the American Psychological Association’s definition of internalization, you’ll see that it is “the unconscious mental process by which the characteristics, beliefs, feelings, or attitudes of individuals or the other group is assimilated into itself and accepted as its own”. ”
Applying this concept to an internalized definition of homophobia, you get something that happens when people adopt the homophobic beliefs of those around them.
In short, they hate or fear anyone from the LGBTQ+ community because they have been influenced by the people around them. It can happen to anyone, heterosexual or homosexual.
While interesting, some new research is now showing that homophobic people often have attachment problems. As this article on psychologically problematic homosexuals explains in more detail, people with a “fear-avoidant attachment style” tend to be more homophobic.
Anyway, let’s not forget the impact of society and culture. As the article also cites, “Homophobia is a disease caused by culture.” Therefore, it can be assumed that even people with attachment problems can avoid the painful feelings of homophobia in a tolerant and welcoming culture.
So what percentage of people are homophobic? As you can imagine, this varies from country to country, although this Bloomberg article on the world map of homophobia indicates that 60% of Americans think that society should accept homosexuality. love. Is it enough?
And click to see a map of homophobia by country in 2023.
7 signs of internalized homophobia
Whether you’re outspoken or LGBTQ+, any of these positions could be yours if you suffer from this internalization:
1. Nervous or embarrassed around people from the LGBTQ+ community
What is internalized homophobia without accepting the beliefs and thoughts of others? With this in mind, you will feel a deep inner dissonance that often manifests as anxiety or confusion. Basically, as an LGBTQ+ member, you’re forced to believe you’re gay while believing there’s something wrong with homophobia. Such dissonance leads to general anxiety and suffering.
2. Feeling trapped by heterosexual rules
As humans, we are by definition biased, and so there will always be a supportive community. In this case, society tends to organize itself around heterosexual norms and assumptions. As an emotional health nonprofit explains in its article on Understanding Discrimination, we are all ready to organize people into groups while looking for those with more power. power and resources.
Unfortunately, this makes matters worse because we then become intolerant of people who are different. Whether you’re gay or straight, that means you can’t be yourself.
3. Supporting anti-homosexuality statements and movements
Whether you’re clearly homophobic or just have humble thoughts, you’re likely to post anti-gay comments, almost unknowingly. Your subconscious is a powerful thing and can make you react with stubborn, insensitive words.
4. Spreading condemning gossip and hate talk against LGBTQ+
For some, the above point can be taken further, so people are actively spreading hate. This could, for example, present itself as supporting anti-gay articles on social media.
It can also manifest itself in preventing LGBTQ+ people from working. For example, spread false comments about a gay babysitter to ensure that she is not hired in your neighborhood.
5. Not acknowledging same-sex partners publicly
The interesting question is: “Can gay people be homophobic?” The short answer is that anyone can be homophobic.
To some scholars, since this American Science article on homophobia may be a claim about secret homosexuals, it may seem that being overly homophobic may mask their bias.
In other cases, gay couples feel too afraid or uncomfortable to come out publicly.
6. Feeling ashamed of own sexual desires towards the same sex
Shame is a powerful emotion that can destroy you. Not only does it make you feel like the worst person in the world, but it also makes you shrink. As such, you lose the ability to help yourself or move on.
All that shame can trigger higher self-esteem and focus more on your insecurities. Over time, you become a cripple who can also adopt active defense mechanisms.
7. Avoiding anything to do with LGBTQ+
If you are a homosexual homosexual, you can naturally avoid LGBTQ+ people. While this can happen in most cases, this method should be tested if you run into a gay boss or even a gay plumber showing up.
Of course, you don’t always know who who is, but actively ignoring a community reinforces your biases. Over time, you may discover other equally damaging biases and gradually fill them with hatred.
It does not lead to a happy and contented life.
How to deal with internalized homophobia?
What is intrinsic homophobia if not isolation, shame, and depression? All in all, it’s debilitating because we hate ourselves and those around us.
If you are gay yourself, inner work begins by discovering your beliefs with lots of self-care to support you. Second, it’s about getting the support you need to find healthy beliefs that don’t put you to shame. If you’re straight, the job is similar. You will also need to explore and articulate your beliefs around hating others. This could eventually lead you to discover that you yourself are gay or that you fear relationships.
Either way, if you can’t adapt to other people, no matter how different, there will always be a part of you that you hate. Instead, learn to accept life and its differences and make peace with yourself through individual or couple counseling.
So, is it okay to be homophobic? A better question would be, is it okay to hold hate within you?
In the end, hate eats you up like a poison.
How can you support a loved one navigating internalized homophobia?
Someone working on homophobia needs to feel valued and heard. So just be there and listen to them without trying to fix them. These things take time.
When they’re ready, slowly introduce them to your LGBTQ+ friends, as it’s a great way to show them that we’re all the same underneath. Also, if your loved one is gay, they can listen to other people’s stories about fighting homophobia and standing up for themselves.
The more you take advantage of the community, the less lonely your loved one will feel. In addition, they will begin to feel more courageous and ready to take on the world.
Don’t let internalized homophobia ruin your life
Anyone can be homophobic, and anyone can be against it. We can all learn to be more tolerant of ourselves and each other. Of course, it takes some work to redefine our beliefs and in some cases you may need couples counseling or individual therapy.
Coping with intrinsic homophobia involves educating yourself while exploring and redefining your beliefs, often with a counselor. Getting to know LGBTQ+ people also helps you see that we are all doing our best in this life.
Tolerance is not only good for society; It also promotes positive mental and emotional health. Isn’t it much better to live a life with positive and compassionate thoughts than with negative thoughts?
Or, as the Dalai Lama said, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, be compassionate.”