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LGBTQ Voices

How I Stay Proud Of Myself Despite Homophobia

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A man with a beard and brown hair wearing a blue shirt and a dark checkered shirt, in front of a white background..
New York, NY

I don’t know exactly when I realized I was gay. I think I knew it in my later teen years, but was partially suppressing it until I went to college and had the freedom to ‘start over.’

My coming out was in phases. I came out to myself at 18 years old in 1984 while attending Tufts University. I came out to my Mom a year later.

I did not come out to the rest of my family for many years. After I finally did, my family and friends always made me feel special and loved; through everything I knew I was accepted.

I suppose I have experienced being treated ‘differently’ as a consequence of being gay, but never really made much of it, or cared. I have always felt that we are all different in one way or another, and all have our burdens, advantages, and that in life you simply soldier on.

That said, I was teased throughout my growing up and called names like faggot and pussy. But I never felt that this was terrible.

I was always proud of myself, had friends, and felt people picked on me because they were jealous. I think this self-esteem (or egotism) was a useful adaptation and allowed me to position the bullying in a different way than what many other gay people have experienced.

I don’t think the Federal legalization of same sex marriage has had much of an impact on homophobia. Homophobia, which I think would be better called homo-hate, is all about the bigot, and very little to do with the gay person. I think ultimately haters gonna hate.

The more visible gay people become, the fewer haters there will be, but the more intense their animus will become, until it is simply so unacceptable, and they are silenced. Racism is alive, anti-semitism is alive, misogyny is alive, and homo-hate is alive.

I think gay representation in the media has come a long, long way. Is it enough? I don’t have a clue.

I suppose it might be enough, in so far as you would likely be living under a rock not to be exposed to someone gay in the media. It really is a different world than from when I was in high school 30+ years ago.

I think the media is leading, and society, particularly the religious element is lagging.

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