I definitely, in no sense, have homophobic parents. My parents are very loving and accepting of my sexuality, even when it fluctuates. But something my step-dad said today made that very hard to believe. When telling him about my writing for Queer Voices, he shushed me and said, “Why are you so obsessed with everything gay?” I immediately was baffled at his words and got very angry very quickly. He asked me what I wrote about for a queer magazine. What did he expect? Did he expect me to write about puppies? Did he expect me to write about music? Regardless, I’m writing about what I want to write about. And what I want to write about today is internalized homophobia.

Like I said before, I do not believe my parents are homophobic. I know they would rather me come home with a man than a woman, but they wouldn’t hate me either way. This is where internalized homophobia comes into play. Internalized homophobia is the “internalization of a society’s homophobic attitudes within lesbian, gay, or bisexual people.” This means that you may tell other people you’re not homophobic, but deep inside of you, you don’t feel comfortable with and around LGBTQIA+ people.

In some ways, I believe this fits my parents. They are wonderful people, loving me, and supporting me 100% of the time, but there is something deeper than their exterior. I feel scared to tell my mom when I’m crushing on a girl, especially online because I am afraid of her judgment. She tells me she’s not judging me, but something inside of me just screams at me that she is. I’m used to telling my parents everything, so it’s a very torturous feeling. Maybe it’s just all in my head, maybe their internalized homophobia isn’t real, maybe I’m just overthinking everything. Either way, internalized homophobia is a real thing that is a true problem.

Many people have internalized homophobia. This even includes people who are in the LGBTQIA+ community. Especially when someone is taught how to think about gay people through religion and their family. Many people figuring out their sexuality hate themselves for being who they are, because of this internalized homophobia. It was set into their brains and they have to figure out a way to escape it. It isn’t easy, I know that. This is why internalized homophobia needs to stop. It needs to end. If you’re homophobic, be proud of it or stop being it. Stop forcing these children to believe what you believe. Let them decide what is right and what is wrong.