Mental health counselors probably have encountered a lot of heartbreaking stories from LGBT patients. And these stories are due to homophobia and heterosexualism. Many of the LGBT would feel different merely because they are not heterosexuals. They want to speak out but are afraid to do it.
Talking about their sexuality feels like a taboo as if it was something that no one should speak of even in this day and age. It was like a secret that only they should keep. Their sexuality and gender nonconformity made them more vulnerable to homophobic and transphobic attacks at their school and even in their own home. Without any support, they had to endure it all.
Due to being unable to talk about this issue, they have developed psychological scars. Children in school would avoid being related to the word queer as much as possible to prevent isolation or being called “faggot” or “dike”, which is commonly experienced by LGBT children.
Some gay students have heard of more than twenty homophobic slurs every day. This makes school a terrifying place for LGBT teens since school authorities would often turn a blind eye. These contribute to the growing suicide rate among them. Accoding to Torey C. Richards, LMHC “Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between 14 and 25, and about 30,000 people in the United States commit suicide each year.”
LGBT children can’t process why they are being attacked. They do not have parents who had the same experience and thus cannot explain to them. They may also have abusive families who would blame the child instead. Michael Friedman Ph.D. elaborates that “Rejection often starts at home. As many as 50 percent of LGBT teens experience a negative reaction from their parents when they come out; 30 percent experience physical abuse, and 26 percent are kicked out of their homes.” He’s right.
The refusal of parents or relatives to put themselves in the shoes of the child and see their world will only end up with the child not having a strong sense of self. This and the isolation, violence, and humiliation they experience, and the child will end up suffering silently with no support system or worse, commit suicide.
““Coming out” can be an emotionally charged time punctuated by numerous transitions and changes.” Joseph Manera, PsyD said. There are a lot of LGBT youth who came out to the families and friends but ended up being rejected. Some are even thrown out of their house, leaving them to be homeless.
These experiences contribute to the growing suicide rate and trauma in LGBT youth. This rate is remarkably higher than heterosexual youths, as LGBT youths are more desperate in escaping the trauma they are experiencing.
Those who managed to survive the traumatic childhood may develop internalized homophobia due to the lack of protection they experienced. Internalized homophobia is this want for other LGBT to experience what they experienced. This can lead to lower self-esteem and even self-hatred.
By ignoring internalized homophobia, you’d be ignoring what happened to you in the past. But homophobia needs to be addressed to prevent more LGBT youth from experiencing what you experienced.
The life after coming out means acknowledging the memories of the homophobic abuse one had experienced. All these memories can impact your life even if you don’t notice it.
Acknowledging the memories means telling the world the homophobia and injustice you experienced. Hiding these can only lead to more chances of the future LGBT youth to experience the same.
The LGBT community and movement was started as a struggle for equal rights, freedom, and also to address the attacks done while living in a heterosexist society. Political changes won’t fully heal the mistreatment and abuse they had while growing up. They also need to be recovering from their issues.