How Gays and Lesbians Can Deal with Homophobes
Gays and lesbians cannot eliminate all the homophobia in the world. But they can at least learn to better handle the homophobia the world has to offer them.
First, gays and lesbians need to recognize hidden homophobia. Too often gays and lesbians deliberately or unconsciously overlook homophobia so that they can deny they have real enemies. That temporarily helps them feel less depressed. But to use a medical analogy, it is as if they are denying they are coughing up blood, just hoping it will go away. It spares their day, but it ruins their life. Gays and lesbians can handle homophobia best if they learn when and where it exists. If they know what they are dealing with they will know when they have been discriminated against, and are not just imagining it. So they will not feel paranoid when they are in fact being persecuted. Here are some discriminatory put-downs that some gays and lesbians did not immediately recognize as signaling the presence of hidden homophobia:
A gay man was asking reasonable questions about a straight man's sister. After a few questions the straight man snapped, "You are asking me more questions about my sister than I care to answer." Notable for its absence was, "I am answering fewer questions about my sister than you care to ask."
An individual finds gays unacceptable as equals -- that is, as friends or neighbors. However, she dwells on their virtues when they are in her employ, doing her a service like catering her affairs or installing her window shades.