How to Respond to Homophobic People
No matter how far we seem to come as a society, there are always those minds who just refuse to open. The following guide is meant to help you deal better when you encounter such people.
If it's coming from a group:
Know that just like they're not alone in their opinions, you aren't alone in yours. Call up a supportive friend to remind you that you're not alone. If you can, be in a group of friends that accept and respect you for who you are when you expect to run into the group of people giving you trouble. Let them see that you have friends, that you are loved and valued no matter what your sexual orientation may be. Hopefully they will come to realize that you don't have to be friends, but you don't have to be enemies either. If confrontations ensue just say, "Can we agree to disagree or must we act like we're of the playground age?"
If it's coming from someone you thought was a friend:
If you've just come out with your friends it may take time for them to accept this new knowledge of who you are. Sadly, some of your friends may never come around at all. Don't let these so-called friends bring you down! Your real friends are the ones who are there for you no matter what. Remind your friends that while it may be difficult for them to understand or even agree with you, that you need their love and support more than anything right now.
If it's coming from family:
This can often be the hardest form of homophobia to deal with. These are the people whose opinions of you really matter. You don't want to be talked badly about at a relative's dinner table, or even at your own. Even if you don't feel it, your family does love you and that's why they care about what's going on in your life. They may not be expressing their "concern" in the nicest ways, but they're expressing their feelings because they care about you. Give them time and stick close to the family members that treat you no differently than before you came out. Before too many holidays pass, their acceptance may begin to ware-off on the rest of the family.
If it's coming from strangers:
Don't be afraid to hold your significant other's hand in public because someone might say something rude. Be proud of who you are and the person that you're with. Love yourself and those around you. If someone shouts something rude at you, smile because you're lucky enough to know better, smile because you're you.
It's never easy to deal with homophobic people, but concentrate on your beliefs, not theirs. If homosexuality is a problem to them, let them deal with it. Don't be rude or lose your temper. Let them waste their life on negative emotions. Don't stoop to their level and remember that being gay isn't anything someone should make you feel bad about.
Copyright © 2004 by the author