When Someone Close to You is Homophobic

Sadly, at some point or other you will likely come across someone who want to argue with you about being queer. Maybe they are claiming that being queer is “gross.” Or that marriage equality is unnatural. Possibly they want to convince you that same gender parents are bad for kids, or they feel that you must be convinced that your sexual orientation is a choice.

That stinks.

How to Deal With Homophobia Close to Home

What can make homophobia even worse is when the homophobia comes from someone you are close to like a friend or relative.

That is because what they say and think really matters.

And particularly in the case of your family, you don’t usually have the option to cut ties or even spend less time with them.

Schooling Folks

When someone close to you makes  homophobic remarks it can feel like a knife through your heart. But while many parents are bigoted, a lot simply aren’t educated about what it really means to be gay. Sometimes even if a person makes a nasty remark, he or she would be open to learning more about being queer.

An organization like the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays is a great place to send family members with questions and concerns. They have a lot of experience dealing with these types of issues.

Some Common Misconceptions

A lot of people use misinformed and outdated arguments about being LGBT to justify their homophobia so here are some ideas that folks have and reasons they are just plain mistaken.

It’s not natural.  Please! We live in a world where this word has absolutely no meaning. Plus, same gender relationships and sexual  behavior has been documented across history among a wide range of societies. And while it is true that two men and two women cannot physically have a baby together, in a world of adoptions, foster parents, single parent households and assisted reproductive technologies having parents of the same gender is no less natural.

It’s gross. Look when someone says it is gross to be gay, they are often thinking about what two men do in bed and imagining anal sex.

You can always explain that a) not all gay men have anal sex, b) plenty of heterosexual couple do have anal sex, and c) most people who regularly have anal sex do it because it feels good for both people and with a few basic nods to hygiene and safety is no “grosser” than plenty of other sex acts most people don’t freak out about. But really, anal sex is actually besides the point. There are loads of things that gross one person out that are completely acceptable to another. That’s just life.

The Bible says it’s wrong. Now even if you are a religious person, this argument doesn’t hold a lot of weight. If someone tells you, “The Bible says its a sin to be gay,” You might want to ask them if they also think the hundreds of other proclamations (don’t eat shellfish, do marry your dead brothers widow, don’t work on the Sabbath, do leave a sacrifice at the temple, don’t touch a woman who has her period, do cut off the hand of a thief) are sins that should be met with the extreme punishments described.

Think of the children. Has anyone ever told you that gay men are child molesters and pedophiles? A lot of people seem to think this, but this is not based on any reality. In fact, the vast majority of pedophile identify as heterosexual men, regardless or the gender of their victim.  Plus, plenty of studies have found that in many ways, the children of gay men and lesbians are doing better than the children of heterosexual couples.

Finding Outside Support

Having people close to you exhibit homophobia can be really hard and can make you feel really alone. So if you are in that situation, please try to find a supportive adult who you can talk to!

Ask: Dr. Nerdy!

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