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Homophobia, an unrealistic fear of gays/lesbians, affects all of us in this culture – straight and gay alike. It’s characterized by a generalized negative attitude towards homosexuals, if not outright feelings of hatred. Gays and lesbians experience internalized homophobia as a result of growing up in a culture that allows/encourages discrimination against homosexuals. Internalized homophobia can cause or contribute to lowered self-esteem, intense shame, chemical dependency, and a generalized alienation from one’s true self.
Whether you are gay or straight, spend a little time with the questionnaire below. There are no “correct” answers—just what is true for you. Let me know what your experience of this exercise was like—I’ll be posting some of your responses.
This survey was developed by A.E. Moses & R. D. Hawkins, Jr.
- Do you stop yourself from doing or saying certain things because someone might think you’re gay? If yes, what kinds of things?
- Do you ever intentionally do or say things so that people will think you are NOT gay? Like what
- Do you believe gays/lesbians can influence others to become homosexual? Do you think someone could influence you to change your sexual and affectational preference?
- If you are a parent (straight or gay), how would you (or do you) feel about having a gay child?
- How do you think you would feel if you discovered that one of your parents, parent figures, or siblings were gay or lesbian?
- Are there any jobs, positions or professions that you think lesbians/gays should be barred from holding or entering? If yes, which ones and why?
- If someone you care about were to say to you, “I think I’m gay,” would you suggest that person see a therapist?
- Have you ever been to a gay/lesbian bar, social club, party or march? If not, why?
- Would you wear a button that says, “How dare you assume I’m Heterosexual”?
- Can you think of three positive aspects of being gay? Three negative things?
- Have you ever laughed at a “queer” joke?
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Homo for the Holidays: Click here for suggestions on handling an often difficult time of the year.