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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » LGBTQA Relationships » How can I handle homophobia?

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Author Topic: How can I handle homophobia?
moonlight bouncing off water
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How can I handle homophobia? I am lucky enough to have a great group of friends, 99.9% of whom are all accepting of homosexuality, some of them are bisexual themselves. Unfortunately, there's that 0.1%. Today there was a tolerance assembly at my school about homosexuality, homophobia, and safe gay sex. Coinciding with that assembly there was also a leadership assembly, so about 40 students, myself included, missed the assembly. On our break word got around about what the assembly was about, so we were talking about it. Many students were completely supportive of gay people, and almost all of those who were not said that although they might not agree with it, people have the right to be themselves. I can handle that, they are accepting my right to be whom I want and believe what I want, so I accept that they feel the way they do, it bothers me, but if we all felt, thought, and acted the same way we would be robots. The problem was one girl I'll call Sarah. She left the group when we had our conversation and when she returned she seemed very infuriated that the school was even having an assembly about "things like that". She said she was glad she had missed the assembly because had she not she would have been unable to resist the urge to stand up and say "something" (a remark about homosexual being wrong, or inappropriate to talk about in school). But other than this this girl is a really nice girl. How can I handle her?

(more details later, I have to run)

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~moonlight

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Heather
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A lot of people who are nice people otherwise have some kind of bias or bigotry, be it homophobia, racism, sexism, the works. It's everywhere, unfortunately, and shows itself up even in some people we'd expect better from.

If you don't have to deal with this or any other kind of bias from only 1% of the people around you, that's amazingly great. Like, unheard of great. In that kind of amazing situation, what I'd say you can do is recognize how much support there is around you, how much there is a lack of that bias, and recognize that the people with it are the ones with the problem, and also are going to have very little power to impact anyone with that bias if there is truly that much support and lack of bias.

Personally, I call out bias. I've always done it, but the older I get, the more I just won't stand for it, any kind that I see or hear. When people around me voice it, I let them know they are voicing bias or bigotry, and how disappointing it is for me to hear that from someone I would expect better of. If people around me are unwilling to recognize and question bias, I do all I can not to have those people around me, and if I need to or the situation is such, make clear that's why I don't want to be around them.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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moonlight bouncing off water
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I did call her out, but it didn't seem to do anything, she was clearly distraught about the assembly. I suppose you are right that I'm lucky to have such support around me (although, to be clear, there is more homophobia in my school, but only one of my friends). I just feel sorry for her that she is being so closed-minded and enraged that she feels the need to voice such feelings. The thing is, she has no idea I, or anyone else around her, is gay. (Sarah isn't one of my closest friends and she doesn't always hang out with my group at lunch, she has happened to be gone every time we've talked amongst us about the trials and tribulations of bisexuality) I think she sees LGTBQs as some distant group, some "other", a group of stereotypical people who are only concerned with having sex.

I don't understand her homophobia. I don't understand anyone's homophobia. The big issue is not even specifically her, but anyone with any kind of a bias. I guess it's just that people don't realize that we are just normal people too. I even used to be homophobic when I was little, I just didn't understand and I didn't know that gay people were more than their sexuality, and that not everyone fit the stereotype. I guess I'm just frustrated.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Heather
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Well, even for people who DO fit certain stereotypes, that doesn't make anyone any less human or worthy of human rights. I mean, there are plenty of heterosexual white guys who fit stereotypes of heterosexual white guys, but you don't hear anyone suggesting they're less than human and undeserving of rights. [Smile]

Often once people DO have things brought home and know people around them ARE members of a group they have bias about, it does help. Mind, I'm not suggesting you or anyone else out yourselves to someone you feel unsafe around, or where that would be hurtful to you, but if and when someone is out and she can't have the denial that's part of bias, that may help.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68000 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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