ho·mo·pho·bi·a/ˌhōməˈfōbēə/

The word ‘homophobia’ gets thrown around a lot. People tweet about it, against it, and tweet homophobically. People in power are accused of being homophobes. The LGBT community hate it. There is a day against it. Homophobia and Transphobia are everywhere around us.

This irrational, extreme fear to homosexuality, and/or trans persons bullies, hurts and insults people. People you know. People you love.

As with many other irrational fears, sometimes all it takes to beat this fear is to understand it.  On meeting a gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans person, homophobes might realise that these people are actually human, and quite ‘normal’ ones at that.

Yet sometimes homophobia is even more ingrained. Internalised. It rears its ugly head in your thoughts. It’s fueled by what you he

ar others say, by what you think others think. It’s a horrible blocker, one that stops you from being yourself.

“It’s not okay to like girls” it says.

“You’re a girl, she’s a girl, it can’t work.”

“The bible says it’s wrong.”

“It’s sin.”

“It’s disgusting.”

“You’re better off dead, than someone figuring out you’re having homosexual thoughts.”

“You’re unnatural.”

“You don’t belong.”

“No one will like you.”

“Your friends will disown you.”

“You’re a perv.”

And trapped beneath all these phrases and words, you lie there, stuck. Struggling to reach out, to get help, to find someone who understands. When you finally reach out to someone, you hope that what they tell you does not resemble anything you tell yourself, you hope that they tell you that it is okay. But if they don’t you tumble even deeper under these threats.

This struggle can really beat you up. It takes years to get through it. You hate yourself, there is a constant pain, a constant nagging pain, that won’t stop. A massive hole and ache that nothing can fill or cure. It hurts not to be yourself. But you’re better off being hetero than homo. The internal struggle is your punishment. You choose it to be this way. You think it’s easier, you think it’s better. This is normal, you’re normal, you fit in.

But maybe it doesn’t have to be a choice. For when you must choose between being yourself or killing yourself off (or just your spirit) it doesn’t need to be a choice anymore. It shouldn’t be a choice. It would be like choosing between life or death.

So you start to get to know yourself. It’s hard at first, but it gets better. The same with every other phobia; you face it. You get to know it. You open up your heart to listening to your needs. You let yourself ring true. Right as you’re meant to be.

When you finally reconnect with your inner self, beyond the internalised homophobia and the struggles, despite all the hardships to get there, you never want to turn back. Your spirit radiates from your every pore. Every step is lighter. You’re happy.

Coming out to yourself and accepting yourself, as gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans is the best gift to give yourself. And even if you don’t want to tell the whole world about it (really you don’t have to) at least know that you’ve saved yourself. You can stop just being, and start living.

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