1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How to deal with internalized homophobia?

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by ShyBirdy, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. ShyBirdy

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2021
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Western Canada
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Questioning
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    Does anyone have any tips for dealing with internalized homophobia? I was raised in a religious household, and i only ever grew up with really nasty stereotypes about LGBTQ people. Now, when I think about dating, or getting involved with the local LGBTQ community, those stereotypes get stuck in my head, and I get really anxious, and just want to be "normal/straight" again.
     
    SunnyNarwal likes this.
  2. QuietPeace

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2020
    Messages:
    1,420
    Likes Received:
    942
    Location:
    Nowhere
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    A few people
    One step would be to have a real heart to heart with yourself to accept who you actually are. Also, even if you were to become straight you would not be becoming straight "again" because you were never straight, you were lied to and taught to lie to yourself.

    As far as the religious programming you will need to decide, do you wish to remain religious? If so then there are plenty of people here and there are resources that you can avail yourself of in order to accept that you can be religious and still be LGBT+. If you do not wish to remain religious (the path I chose for many reasons) then you can throw out all of the beliefs at once and start reprogramming yourself to just accept who you really are. I think that therapy with an LGBT+ affirming therapist would help whichever path that you choose.
     
    ShyBirdy and MikeL1962 like this.
  3. BiGemini87

    Full Member Away

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2019
    Messages:
    565
    Likes Received:
    427
    Location:
    Petawawa, ON
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    It's not an easy process. Chances are, it took years for those concepts to become ingrained in your mind, so it only makes sense that it's going to take time to silence them--and in all honesty, I don't think they ever truly do. They get quieter, less frequent, but it takes time to unlearn them and replace them with positives.

    And in truth, it's okay. The fact that you might not be straight is a fairly new one, right? So it's okay that you're still struggling with this, even if I'm sorry that you are; it's a normal, completely human part of the process, and nearly every LGBTQ+ person, out or otherwise goes through the same (or similar). If you want to get involved with LGBTQ+ communities, organizations, etc. you needn't wait until the internalized homophobia is gone. In fact, getting involved and being honest (say in a support group, like PFlag) about how you feel can be of great benefit to overcoming these internalized prejudices. :slight_smile:
     
    Bastion, maybon, Peterpangirl and 6 others like this.
  4. I'm gay

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2016
    Messages:
    1,694
    Likes Received:
    700
    Location:
    United States
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I second this advice. I think the more you are around other gay people and interacting with them, the more your internalized homophobia will fade away. The only way to counter bad teaching is with good teaching. You will need to put yourself out there and get involved, make new friends, and develop new experiences in the gay community.

    I also think that being closeted certainly contributes and sustains your internalized homophobia. Coming out itself helps to reduce IH.
     
    #4 I'm gay, Apr 9, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
  5. out2019

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2018
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    473
    Location:
    us
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    A few people
    If it helps, I struggle with this too and I grew up in a secular liberal household....from what I have seen here, most of us 'have it' -if only the expectations and social pressures that are there..

    Not everyone who is gay or LGBTQ conforms to those stereotypes- or the more overt stuff you see in parades...

    What is your current situation ? are you in a friendly place? Still living at home? or around family?


    Agree. One thing that helped for me was to start imagining what it would be like to date a guy...it felt so good, so beautiful, I began think 'what's wrong with loving someone like this'?
    @ShyBirdy it helps to have some positive vision of something to move towards...


    I haven't experienced this but I realized I felt no shame or homophobia when I called my local center and told them I was gay... I also did a zoom call with a center and felt totally normal. I can see how being around people where we are the norm makes self consciousness a lot less.

    Agree. and its easy to go back into the closet and denial if you are not out.

    I felt like this too for a long time... but eventually there are longer and longer periods where i love being gay! I know it can sound impossible but lots of people here have experienced this as they accept themselves!
     
    #5 out2019, Apr 9, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
    BiGemini87 and ShyBirdy like this.
  6. ShyBirdy

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2021
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Western Canada
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Questioning
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    Thank you everyone for the thoughtful replies, you shared a lot of good information.

    Yes, I only acknowledged that I'm not straight a few months ago. It's good to hear that it's normal to go through this, and that other people have dealt with the same thing and have gotten through. Thanks for mentioning PFlag- I hadn't heard about them, and when I googled them- it looks like there's a centre near me!

    @QuietPeace I actually moved away from religion a long time ago, it's more the negative stereotypes that have been sticking around in my head. And I guess worrying about what other people will think of me too, and that they might express those same stereotypes and make the faces and jokes that I heard growing up.

    I am living with family right now. I think they might actually be somewhat supportive, and I think some of them already suspect that I'm not straight anyway. Telling them just isn't something I'm ready to do right now.
     
    BiGemini87 likes this.
  7. QuietPeace

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2020
    Messages:
    1,420
    Likes Received:
    942
    Location:
    Nowhere
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    A few people
    For this I have decided that so long as someone is not trying to actively harm me what they think about me does not matter (it is not always easy though).
     
    BiGemini87 likes this.
  8. sojabohnenfeld

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2017
    Messages:
    173
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    united states
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Some people
    My mom is very religious. I grew up believing it was impossible to be lgbtq and a happy person. But many are! If you can find role models in your area, I think it makes a world of difference. It probably sounds dumb. But I like to find different lgbtq tv reporters. For example, Robin Roberts... or just someone local. It makes me feel more normal. But I know how it feels, having grown up in a world where we didn't exist.
     
    ShyBirdy and BiGemini87 like this.
  9. Liza95

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2021
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    DC
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    This was something that I struggled with immensely. The things that helped me most were surrounding myself with lgbtq friends, exposing myself to lgbtq media, and talking to an lgbtq therapist. I still struggle with it at times, but I have come a long way.
     
    ShyBirdy likes this.
  10. bingostring

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    2,035
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    England
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Some people
    I strongly agree with the points above.

    different experiences for different people of course and some may struggle or heal in different ways.

    There is a very useful Wikipedia page on internalised homophobia well worth having a read

    I think surrounding yourself with lgbtq friends is a very healing thing to do and brings wider rewards
     
    ShyBirdy likes this.
  11. Jakebusman

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    OH
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Some people
    I used to feel like that before I came out
     
  12. ShyBirdy

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2021
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Western Canada
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Questioning
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    Ooh- I'll check out the Wikipedia article- thanks!
    And yes, I'm definitely going to be looking at meeting more LGBTQ folks- tho that might have to wait until Covid restrictions are lifted.
     
  13. Jakebusman

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    OH
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Some people
    So glad I put those feelings behind me
     
  14. NotTooLoud

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2019
    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    156
    Location:
    Washington state
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Were you ever straight though? I mean, I always denied I was gay, but I always knew it.
     
  15. ShyBirdy

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2021
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Western Canada
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Questioning
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    No- I was never straight. Just in denial. So I guess when I say "go back to being straight" I just mean go back to pretending to be straight.
     
  16. I'm gay

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2016
    Messages:
    1,694
    Likes Received:
    700
    Location:
    United States
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    When you examine why you want to "go back to pretending to be straight," even though you now clearly see that you are not straight, you can then see how shame is still influencing your perceptions of yourself, and preventing you from full acceptance.

    Exactly! These negative stereotypes, what other people will think of you, people making faces, jokes, etc. are all part of your feelings of shame. I heard all those things growing up too. It made me feel ashamed to be gay, and so I denied it and stuffed it down. When you eliminate the shame, you won't care anymore what these people might think of you.
     
    NotTooLoud and ShyBirdy like this.
  17. quebec

    Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2014
    Messages:
    2,277
    Likes Received:
    1,176
    Location:
    Idaho, U.S.
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Some people
    ShyBirdy.....Ah yes....the religious guilt trip...I know it well! Before I start sounding too anti-religion I should tell you that I am a Christian and I have kept my faith as well as being gay. That sounds like a contradiction, but it isn't! :old_smile: It sounds to me like you haven't yet been able to shake off the indoctrination that said that being LGBTQ was a terrible sin, that taught that we are broken and must be fixed. Even when I accepted that I was and always had been gay, I still had a serious conflict between my faith and what I knew to be absolute truth...that I was gay. It so happens that my faith was a choice of my own...I was not raised to go to church and all that entails. So turning my back on what I believed was not going to be easy. I spent a little over a year in very serious study of what the Bible...not church dogma, not church leaders...says about homosexuality. I read a number of books and studied the significant passages in the Bible in the original Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek. What I found set me free and also angered me. It seems that a number of passages in the Bible have been mistranslated, misinterpreted, and sometimes even twisted to justify a predetermined, prejudiced point of view. A view that supports the belief that any non-heterosexual relationship is evil, sinful and immoral. At best this is unforgivingly poor scholarship. At worst this is an outright lie. I can tell you that nowhere does the Bible condemn same-sex relationships as we know them...why? Simply because same-sex relationships as we know them did not even exist at the time the Old and New Testament were written. If you would like more detailed information about this I can provide it for you...just let me know.

    So my point here is that the guilt and shame that caused so much self-hate in my life has no foundation at all. I was told that every LGBTQ individual had made a choice to be that way because they were filled with lust. I was told that all of us were going to hell. IT.IS.A.LIE. I am made in the image of God. God made me the way I am and, as I believe, God does not make mistakes!! I am as I was meant to be and never, ever need to be ashamed of who I am. Learning that what I had been told for so long was completely false, made me angry for a while...but understanding that there was no justification at all for me to feel that guilt was such a wonderful feeling! Now that I know there is no reason at all to feel that guilt, It's gone. It did take a little while to adjust to the new me...but I am so much happier now!

    Just as an interesting side note...the word "homosexual" was not invented until 1896 and was not even used in the Bible until 1946.

    I so hope that what I have written here will help you to understand that you can be rid of those guilty feelings. I hope that you will be able to feel emotionally and/or sexually attracted to anyone...without any kind of guilt! I hope that you can be who you truly are without any kind of hesitation...we don't need to be fixed because WE.ARE.NOT.BROKEN!

    I have a lot of information about homosexuality and the Bible. If you would like more I can easily give it to you...just ask. For example: It's easy to prove that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah had absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality. The Bible itself proves it!

    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
    NotTooLoud and ShyBirdy like this.
  18. old tacoma

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2020
    Messages:
    216
    Likes Received:
    120
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    A few people
    @quebec - David, I would like to read what you have found in your bible reading and research.
     
  19. ShyBirdy

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2021
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Western Canada
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Questioning
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    I actually stopped believing in Christianity over a decade ago, but the various sexual repression stuff has been really hard for me to shake off for some reason. It's not just being gay, but all the stuff about how women shouldn't feel desire, or enjoy sex etc. I'm slowly working on it, but it's definitely been difficult...

    I was raised Catholic, and I recently found some ex-Catholic support sites that are proving to be helpful. And I'm looking for an online Zoom group or something for LGBT+ people too.

    Thank you everyone for your kind replies.
     
  20. Love2sleep

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2020
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Uk
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I don't think I have ever encountered what you ar going through before. I have met something new who is religious and although she said she is Bisexual, she would never date a woman because of her own feelings to do with her religious beliefs. I was wondering if anyone could help me understand this?