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The Big Gay Elephant In The Room

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Guys…. can we talk about …homophobia? I’m not talking about the kind of blatant, screaming, oppressive homophobia that we suffer from the people around us. I’m talking about the subtle, insidious self-hatred that many of us internalize and struggle with on a daily basis.

I was raised in a heteronormative Christian household and those words and the socialization behind them often carry a heavy weight for people who don’t conform to those strict constructs. And here’s the kicker, gay people can be homophobic too. Just as Black people can unknowingly perpetuate
the basic tenants of white supremacy, queer people can (unwittingly) also exhibit homophobic bias


This bias can be exhibited as animosity against people
who tend draw more attention through their queerness, those who stand out and are more vocal about their queer aesthetic. Fore example: more effeminate men or more masculine women and non-passing transgender people can all bear the brunt of aggressive or subtle negativity within our community. It is unfortunate that those who chose to live
loudly and boldly in their truths tend to draw not only the ire of the heterosexual community, but additionally, of the queer community.


Homophobia within the queer community seems counterintuitive. After all, we created our community in order to have a safe space away from the oppression we face from the heterosexual world. But the vast majority of us were raised in that world. We were born in boxes that we had to break out of only to create new boxes that we then punished others for
not fitting into. Despite our claims that we desire complete and utter freedom, we also crave the structures that will help us at least partially fit in.

There are a lot of complicated feelings that have to be dealt with before we can be liberated from the compulsions we inherited from our former lives. Those prejudices have to be pulled out by the root and burned for us to be truly free. The problem is, those roots are intertwined with who we
fundamentally are, and so we have to do the hard work and believe in the ultimate objective of gay liberation if we are going to be successful in our journey to independence.The question is…what do we do to break this crabs in a barrel mentality we inherit from our heterosexual counterparts? How do we find the path to freedom where we so often stumble?

Here’s the key… love yourself.

I know it sounds wildly simple and maybe even ridiculous. You are rolling your eyes. Like girl…I do love myself and I’m not prejudiced against gay people I AM gay people. We might love ourselves, but we
don’t love ALL of ourselves. Self-love is a constant battle. We have to wake up every day and make a concerted effort to love the parts of ourselves that we have always been told were the most worthless and least desirable.

Be kind to yourself. Always.

When you want to look in the
mirror and find fault chose love first and banish all of the hateful things you’ve heard and internalized. I believe that we can create that community we all dreamed of, we just have to be committed to loving ourselves, loving each other, and loving the dream of freedom.

Chris Coakley

Chris Coakley is a walking talking super nova. She’s a poet, a womanist, an activist, and quite possibly the biggest lesbian you’ll ever meet in your entire life. She’s allergic to toxic masculinity and cats. She’s an anxious dreamer in love with big sweet words and the power they wield. An attorney and writer from Chicago, Illinois she is passionate about advocating for the less fortunate and is committed to improving her community one case at a time. Chris believes that the best way to change the world is to change the people around you, so she educates her community on the dangers of unchecked patriarchy and offers sustainable feminist solutions for how we can create a more equal society. In her free time, she helps organizations that address the needs of the LGBTQ and underprivileged communities with legal issues. Chris can be found on Twitter @ChrisHCoakley and Instagram @alphaqueer.

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