We’ve been where you are right now. We’ve survived the pain and trauma that comes along with existing in a homophobic space (including biphobic and transphobic). You are not alone and it does get better.
Hearing Homophobic Terms
I remember watching an episode of Judge Judy that showed a black lesbian couple. Not sure what the court case was about but — not at all the point. I was about 18 or 19 and still closeted. My mom walked past the tv and blurted something out that I thought was totally disrespectful. I had never heard my mother use derogatory terms to describe anyone before so this especially hurt.
She said, “Oh, is that two dykes fighting?”
I was mortified! I had never heard my mom use words like that EVERRR! It felt so personal but there was nothing I could say really. I couldn’t tell her why her words bothered me because I wasn’t ready to come out. So I shook my head and felt what I felt.
From that moment, I internalized that my mother was homophobic. I was unable to express my attraction to other women. So I stayed in the closet for several years following this date, hurting and confused. Homophobia is minding your business and someone punches you in the face without warning. Homophobia is reading your favorite book and you turn the page to find slander and defamation written across the pages. Take some time to imagine what that would feel like to you. Take some time to imagine how damaging that is to every child being raised in a homophobic space. It’s suffocating having to watch your back so closely in your own home.
I came out to my mother when I felt safe to do so. I do want to mention, if I haven’t already, that COMING OUT IS NOT A REQUIREMENT FOR THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY. You do not have to explain your sexuality to anyone. You can if you choose to. I chose to come out to my mother and I still cannot tell you why. I felt some force pushing me to sit her down and have THE TALK with her. By the time I came out, I had been dating my wife (girlfriend at the time) for 2 years already. I had already graduated from college and had the “means” to support myself if I had gotten kicked out. Making 7.25/hour at a windshield repair shop… I wasn’t going anywhere, child. Any who, being kicked out was a constant fear in my head and is a reality for so many queer people.
Tips for Surviving Homophobia
Our advice to you, if you live in a place where you don’t feel comfortable to be your truest self, it gets better. Understand that you are seen and heard. You are not alone. There is a chosen family waiting to hear your story and love on you. And try these tips we’ve put together for you. They helped us get through our darkest days as baby queers.
1 Tell some jokes. No, seriously, tell some jokes. If you’re unsure about your family or friend’s position on the LGBTQ+ community use jokes as a way to gauge their reactions. Hopefully you receive positive feed back from friends and family. This can be a tool to learn how they might react to you being out.
2 Seek support outside of your home. Sometimes we cannot be our truest selves around family when first coming out. That can be for a number of reasons like a lack of education about the LGBTQ+ community. Some people are super religious and use religion as a way to hide behind their homophobia. Speak to an LGBTQ+ counselor at your school or in the community. Having a professional to talk to helps you to cope with the situation.
3Friends can be a good support system. Find a friend that you completely trust and tell them what’s going on. These conversations are much easier than telling your family. I had a friend that I discussed my sexuality with early on and it was helpful to talk. I enjoyed the freedom of being myself around her, purging negative thoughts and making room for self-acceptance.
4If you don’t have family or friends to talk to there is support on the internets. I cannot explain how many awesome people we have met through Instagram. I encourage practicing internet safety, of course. But there is so much joy in finding your community online. Hashtags are a great way to start or follow a public figure that you look up to.
5Feel free to message us on this platform or any of our other social media accounts. We have instagram, YouTube, and Facebook also; everything is THEWORDQUEER. We are here to be a resource for the LGBTQ+ community.
6Locate LGBTQ+ support resources in your area. LGBTQ+ people experience violence and bullying at higher rates than heterosexual people. Statistically, it would be wise to know community resources that can assist you immediately. Know your local police phone number, domestic violence hotlines, and local homeless shelters.
We hope this blog helps bring you some clarity about living in your truth. It’s not an easy thing to do. It gets much better, I promise!
“Homosexuality is natural. It is homophobia that is unnatural.”Mokokoma Mokhonoana