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Shagun Chopra


Internalized homophobia.

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4 months ago
4 months ago
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Are some homophobic people actually facing the “fear of self”?

Several people around the world display hatred or dislike towards people belonging to the LGBTQ community and amongst these people, there are several of them who are fighting battles with their own sexuality. Such people experience what is known as “internalized homophobia”. It has been explained as “the gay person’s direction of negative social attitudes toward the self, leading to a devaluation of the self and resultant internal conflicts and poor self-regard” (Meyer & Dean, p. 161). Other words like ‘heterosexism’ and ‘homonegativity’ are often used to explain the phenomenon ‘internalized homophobia’. People who face this are often caught up between the society and their own choices in turn leading to serious repercussions on their mental health and behaviour. It is ironic how somebody who distinguishes as LGBQ likewise have sentiments of dislike, dread, and disturb towards themselves.

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While several individuals develop feelings of hatred for themselves there are homosexuals who refuse to identify as gay/lesbian and instead project feelings of hatred for people belonging to the LGBQ community. This can be considered as a form of ‘Internalised Homophobia’. A study was conducted by a team from the University of Essex, the University of California in Santa Barbara England and the University of Rochester. In four separate investigations that took place in the U.S. and Germany, each including approximately of 160 undergraduate students, researchers aimed at quantifying contrasts between what individuals say about their sexuality and how they really respond. The study proposes that individuals who curb their own sexual appreciation for a similar sex are bound to express threatening vibe towards gays. On the whole, the experiments demonstrated that members with guardians tolerating of homosexuality were progressively open and mindful of their certain sexual introduction, while those with regulating parents were bound to deny their verifiable sexual introduction.

There are several factors that contribute to the development of these feelings in a person. It is imperative to recollect that internalized homophobia isn't an individual characteristic as much as it is an impression of the interaction between an individual and her/his surroundings. The disdainful and intolerant conduct of those nearest to us regularly has the most significant effect (guardians, church network, peers, accomplices). While they ought to be considered dependable as people, the genuine offender is a forcefully heterosexist society that is characterizing what is "typical," and hence what is "correct" and "wrong," through laws, culture, religion family life and. We develop a sense of self while growing up with our families and we largely represent the values that our families have inculcated in us. And when a homosexual person witnesses anti-gay bias coming from this very family the effect on his/her mind is intense. The perspective of one’s family is often build on religious grounds and it is this religion that reflects in their thinking and actions towards their children. ”Children and youth are partly inducted into homophobic beliefs through places of worship at a time when they are most susceptible to internalizing such beliefs” .(Meyer and Barner). The connection between religious alliance and internalized homophobia among LGBs may be different with varying race and ethnicity since religiosity itself differs with race and ethnicities in the U.S.(Meyer and Barner). When we consider that homophobia is a consequence of a this bigger framework, we see that it is institutional; that it becomes hard to exist without it.

It can therefore be clearly seen that it all boils down to one’s socialisation. Human beings interact with each other throughout their lives .i.e., from birth throughout their teenage and adulthood, to death and we have “an innate desire to get influenced by the perspectives of people around us which in turn can build competition as much as it promotes co-operation. In order to find our niche amidst this rivalry and cooperation we tend to come up with rules for living together. These are the rules that bind the society together and at the same time lead to its disintegration in certain situations” (Chopra 1). It is interesting to note that an indispensable part of one’s life can in turn have such a drastic effect on his/her mind leading to a life of misery and fear of accepting the self.

Internalized homophobia has serious effects on one’s health, especially psychology. In a study conducted by Concordia University, people who suffered more LGB-related pressure - contentions about sexual personality, tormenting or discrimination had higher internalized homophobia and demonstrated higher release of the cortisol hormone which is a stress hormone contrasted with friends from other conditions. Whenever bisexual men have a negative frame of mind toward themselves, particularly with sentiments related with internalized homophobia, the mentally harmful impacts of the societal dimension of homophobia frequently take place (Meyer, 1995). The minority stress theory developed by Merton indicates that there is a more noteworthy probability for mental and physical medical issues among homosexuals and other minorities. The fear to deal with the society may become so intense in certain situations that it may even lead to suicides.

Apart from inducing stress it can also have other affects on one’s lifestyle. It may lead to denial-going from forceful and derisive conduct to denying yourself the life and cherish you want; One may also mislead himself/herself about fascination and sexuality which may in turn lead to failure in "coming out" during the time when you need to. One may also constrain others to keep facts. The enthusiastic destruction that mystery and deceptive nature can create varies from individual to individual.

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 As we saw internalized homophobia is affected by each part of character, for example, religion, race, class, place, sex, personality, family, companions, accomplices, too the majority of the partialities we convey. Furthermore, numerous LGBQ individuals encounter meeting abuse in various forms, for example, prejudice, transphobia, misogyny, etc. and along these lines are powerless against various types of internalized persecution. While it is difficult to explicate everybody’s stories and listen to them, making inquiries and considering the input of companions is an essential advance in getting a clearer picture of oneself. An inescapable issue of people who have been oppressed for so long and curbed into intangibility is absence of representation, and because of this, internalized homophobia has a significantly more prominent capacity to grab hold of a man's mind.

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