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Gay, Lesbian, and Queer People attracted to only one sex, gender, or gender expression

Growing up in a heterosexual world as a gay, lesbian, or queer person is hard due to homophobia, including discrimination, negative myths and stereotypes.

The world is becoming more accepting, but the negative messages are still rampant. 

These negative messages can become part of a psyche, which is called internalized homophobia. The more discrimination one experiences in the outside world, the more likely someone is to have more internalized homophobia. 

These internalized beliefs about oneself as a gay, lesbian, or queer person can lead to all sorts of psychological and behavioral difficulties, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self esteem
  • Unstable personal relationships (even intimate partner violence)
  • Unsafe sex practices
  • Eating disorders (including binge eating, over-exercising, etc.)
  • Body image problems
  • Panic attacks
  • Substance use/misue/addiction
  • Perfectionism
  • Codependency
  • Overwork
  • Less ‘healthy’ behaviors (like eating well, going to the doctor, etc.)
  • Unemployment or Underemployment
  • Unsafe behaviors (like driving too fast, etc.)
  • Self harm
  • Suicidal ideation and behavior

There are limits to the amount of change we have individually on systemic homophobia (not to say that we shouldn’t continue advocating for change!). But we do have control over how we internalize these messages. Psychotherapy can help tease out internalized homophobia in order to alleviate distress and build resilience.