I am gay and I used to be a homophobe. I never voiced it and I never targeted it outwardly at anyone, but I used to resent flamboyant gay men, because they made it look so easy to be themselves and not care what anyone thought of them. Although I identified with them very strongly, I did not allow myself to express that part of myself. My greatest desire was to fit in and be accepted by the mainstream, so I tried to stifle any mannerisms and preferences that might give me away as gay.
That’s so gay
My internalised homophobia was taken to ridiculous lengths. I refused to admit listening to (and enjoying) music by artists like Adam Lambert, Village People, Scissor Sisters and the Pet Shop Boys, who were all obviously associated with LGBT themes. I was careful not to dress too well and faked an ineptitude for fashion.
Even spending time with other gay people was a risk, because my natural proclivities seemed to be magnified in their company and I always feared I would set their gaydar buzzing. Most of the time it seemed my efforts were unsuccessful, as I still got picked out as gay.
Now that I am out of the closet, my obsessions with Katy Perry, Glee and Kylie Minogue are common knowledge, but I am still struggling to undo the legacy of prejudices I developed out of fear of myself. I am sure that I am not the only one.
I am strongly opposed to homophobia and I believe that everyone should be free to embrace who they are without fear of judgment or harassment. Rejecting a personal trait within yourself can only lead to you rejecting it in others. Isn’t life difficult enough as it is, without us persecuting ourselves and those like us?