Internalized homophobia has made my life a living hell. It has driven such an intense dislike towards myself because of my sexual preferences. But I am not the only person it has infected with its hatred; many people with different sexual orientations–even heterosexuals–have fallen victim. Because of internalized homophobia, I would always wish to be straight and I was too afraid to tell my friends that I was not straight due to the negative connotations I felt were behind it.
Internalized homophobia is one of the biggest struggles people within the LGBTQ+ community face. In simple terms, internalized homophobia is the struggle with finding homosexuality okay. Many people who are not heterosexual deal with this because they grow up with negative depictions of homosexuality, and they are faced with moral dilemmas as they realize that they are exactly what they have avoided.
Growing up, it was instilled in me that homosexuality was not normal; that it was something that God did not want. After all, he did create men and women for a reason, or at least that is what people say. Hearing the same thing over and over again eventually sticks with you, and you start to believe it. However, I want anyone reading this article to remember something: there are churches out there that support everyone despite their sexual orientation. I suggest finding one of those groups and mingling with them, if religion is a big part of your life of course.
There was a point in my life, which I deeply regret, where I was very outspoken about how odd I found homosexuality. I was young, I was ignorant, and my views have drastically changed. The homophobia that I felt soon became internalized as soon as I realized my bisexuality. Because I grew up in a somewhat conservative household, I did not disclose my sexuality to my family, because I felt ashamed.
Figuring out that I am not a heterosexual was surprisingly an easy concept about myself to understand. The embarrassment was still there, nonetheless. I spent years disliking myself because homophobia has embedded itself deep into my conscience. While it is not particularly at the forefront of my mind, it continues to lurk in the shadows, only coming out when I am alone with my thoughts. I have searched high and low for forums and articles containing people who are going through the same thing.
Despite still suffering from internalized homophobia today, one of the biggest things I have learned is that homosexuality is not this evil thing that so many people have made it out to be. It is important that you stay true to yourself, no matter what internal and external predicaments you may face. Times are changing and we live in a day and age where things that were taboo back then are being accepted more now.
I cannot tell you to stop listening to those internalized homophobic thoughts, it is just not possible. As I mentioned before, I still struggle with it, however there are plenty of articles, helplines, and websites to help you maintain those thoughts. Here are some resources you can turn to help/educate you. (Aside from TWE, none of these websites sponsor TWE)
· Sexuality Articles – This link includes articles written by other members within Teenagers With Experience, there are a plethora of other topics as well.
· Internalized Homophobia – This article goes into more depth about the topic discussed. This is definitely worth a read for education!
· Trevor Project – This website is a helpline for the LGBTQ+ youth. You can chat with someone on the phone, or you can text them. You can even volunteer (you must be at least 18 years old).
· Rainbow Project – This article displays ways that internalized homophobia can manifest itself. It is a great article for anyone questioning if they have it.
As if facing discrimination from other people is not enough, people from the LGBTQ+ community can suffer from internal discrimination as well. Growing up and seeing the same negative depictions of homosexuals affects us more than we can anticipate. However hard you may judge yourself, it is important to realize that you are not in this fight alone, everyday we see more progress for the LGBTQ+ community and this is something we should celebrate. You do not have to live your life in shame because of others’ opinions.
Stay true to yourself,