The other day I was talking with a client, a well-adjusted gay man, who told me, “I don’t think I’m homophobic anymore. I think I’ve worked all that through.”
My response was, “Really? Do you think that’s possible?”
He was pretty surprised to hear me say that. And that led us to a discussion of what homophobia really is.
Internalized homophobia is based on fear. A fear that who we are is not okay and that if we allowed how we feel inside to show outside, we’d never fit in.
Ironically, for many of us, this fear encourages us to act as if we are superior to others. It combines — unfortunately — with racism, misogyny and ageism to manifest in a variety of subtle and not-so-subtle ways in our community: men feel superior to women; white people feel superior to people of color; gay men and lesbians feel superior to bisexual and transgender men and women; young people feel superior to older people; wealthy people feel superior to poorer people … and young, middle-class gay white men feel superior to everyone else in the LGBT community (but still feel inferior to their straight counterparts).