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What Is Internal Homophobia?

  • Published:
    12 September 2022
  • Updated:
    02 February 2024
internalized homophobia

Internalized homophobia is a negative self-perception because of one's own sexual orientation. The full term includes biphobia and transphobia, which extends the definition to those individuals who are different from their biological sex.

Where Does Internal Homophobia Come From?

Negative self-perceptions come from the outside, as the environment in which one grows up is inherently negative towards everyone who is not heterosexual. As a result, it makes one feel very insecure around other people.

Safety is one of the most basic human needs, and if it is not realized, a person percepts the outside world as a source of danger. This perception can have various forms, such as

  • Hit (aggressive behavior, toxicity, sarcasm).
  • Run (escape from reality, lack of contact).
  • Freeze (withdrawal into oneself, subordination).

or some combination of those forms. Similar things happen with a person who is internally homophobic. 

What Does a Person with Internal Homophobia Feel?

The most frequent feelings of the person with internalized homophobia faces are fear and shame. Fear for his life because of societal prejudice, and shame because he feels that does not belong to the current system.

How Does Internal Homophobia Manifest?

A person with internalized homophobia may expose the following behaviors:

  • Does not call himself gay, bisexual, transpersonal, or other words, and tries to avoid such definitions.
  • Tries to build relationships with the opposite sex, even without interest in such relationships.
  • Hides gender identity from surrounding people, and at certain stages of the developmental process may hide it from himself as well.
  • Expresses negative opinions about the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Afraid of revealing his own sexual orientation.
  • Feels “wrong”.
  • Strives to keep a heterosexual appearance.

Why Is It Important to Accept One's Sexual Orientation?

However, one should be aware that by refusing to accept oneself, such a person can damage his/her own mental health. The consequences of internalized homophobia can be very serious: anxiety and depression disorders, suicide attempts, psychosomatic disorders, sexual disorders, and relationship problems.

How to overcome internal homophobia - read in the following article.

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