Living in your truth is a wonderful feeling. But regardless of how comfortable you are or how open society has become, there will still be homophobia. At some point, all of us in the LGBTQ community will all deal with it. It could be casual ignorance or blatant mockery. But it’s likely that we all will go through it at least once. The good news is that it doesn’t define us, and there are plenty of ways to deal with it and get support.
If someone is yelling out gay slurs or making offensive comments, they’re only doing so to get a reaction out of you. Even more so, they’re just openly displaying their discomfort with themselves. They’re showing off their ignorance, and there’s no reason that you have to engage them. Instead, keep your cool and go about your day. There may be a time when you want to fight back or stand up for yourself, but nothing destroys a homophobe like being ignored.
Let’s say the homophobia isn’t courtesy of strangers. Instead, it’s your family or friends. It’s not as easy to walk away and pretend it doesn’t exist. Because it’s often right there in your home. Talk to them. Listen to what they have to say, but don’t get riled up. Once they’ve had a chance to air their feelings, explain your journey. A calm, two-sided dialogue can often be the first step to acceptance.
Delete, Mute, Block-Repeat
With the culture of hate and online trolls prevailing, it’s likely that some of the homophobia you’ll experience will be right on your mobile devices. Comments from faceless strangers can be upsetting, but there’s no reason to give in to the negativity. Don’t waste your time fighting people online that you don’t know. Delete their comments and mute them from your experience. If they continue to be problematic, block them. Unlike real life, it’s much easier to remove homophobia from your digital world.
Sometimes, things can get physical. Keeping your cool may not be enough to shake a homophobe. If you encounter threats, physical violence, or any type of abuse where you feel your life is in danger, notify the authorities. There’s no reason for you to feel unsafe because of who you are. Law enforcement has a duty to protect you, and you shouldn’t feel alone in your pursuit of living a healthy, violence-free life. You can also call me or email me and I will help you find a support system near you. PFLAG, LGBTQ centers and/or an LGBTQ therapist can be a start.
You are perfect the way you are. When you encounter homophobia, it can be jarring. And it can convince you that you need to change; that something’s wrong with you. No matter what you hear or who’s behind the hate, you have to keep loving yourself. As long as you keep a strong loving relationship with yourself, you can survive anything. And remember #itgetsbetter.
Homophobia is never easy to stomach but it’s a reality of our world and it comes in many different forms. Luckily, we all have the ability to fight back by rising above and staying on the high road. Please contact me to set up an appointment if you need support.