A lot of people in the LGBTQ community have lost friends, colleagues, and even family to homophobia. It can be deeply entrenched in religion, self-loathing (closeted people), and culture. You can’t win em all, but here are the top 5 ways to deal with a homophobic friend.
Don’t Engage In Escalating Aggression
If they’re taking their homophobia to an extreme, stay safe. Know your limit and prepare to accept the fact that you can’t change everyone’s mind, especially by fuelling the flames with arguments. Not everyone is open-minded or ready for a change in perception. Pick your battles safely.
Determine The Source And The Level Of Homophobia
If your friend has been raised in the Church and believes that it’s a “sin” or that you’ll be “condemned,” unfortunately, you might have to throw in the towel. That’s an uphill battle that could be tough to win. Whereas, if someone grew up not knowing any gay people, but just Hollywood’s depiction and stereotypes, it could be salvageable and worth the effort. If you know your friend is worth it, do your best to break down their beliefs if you feel it’s safe.
Educate And Expose Them To New Ideas
If someone was born in a small town or grew up with no gay people, it could just be a matter of exposure. Educating them on the different lifestyles could normalize the lifestyle and ease some of the preconceived notions they had previously had. Example: Not every gay person wants to sleep with you. They are people just like you. Don’t flatter yourself.
Be An Example
Coming out to homophobes can feel like jumping onto a grenade when they’re vocal about their stance. It’s important to (whether you come out or not) lead by example. Demonstrating that you are a kind/funny/smart 3D human with many facets to your identity can show that being gay isn’t a personality like many homophobes think it is. There is no ultimate gay agenda, aside to be equal and accepted. It’s not all dick pics and glitter.
Make Them Aware
Finally, call them out. Even if you don’t come out, make sure they are aware of the language and beliefs they are using. It’s alienating to say things like “That’s gay” or “no homo”. I always tend to ask “what do you mean by that?” Don’t be harsh, but be honest. You can use words like “That’s inaccurate” or “in my experience…” without fully throwing yourself under the Anti-Gay bus.
But above all BE SAFE. You don’t need to be a martyr for every homophobe you meet, but you should be an example of how outdated a homophobe’s perception is, and bonus points if you can make them aware.
If you or a loved one you know battles with any Mental Health Issues, please do get the help you need. If you need to talk to someone now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore