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3 Minutes Read

Overcoming Internalized Homophobia and Transphobia

Internalized homophobia and transphobia are the negative beliefs and feelings LGBTQIA+ people develop about themselves due to societal messages of prejudice against sexual orientation and gender identity. It's essentially absorbing the negativity around LGBTQIA+ identities and turning it inwards.

This negativity can manifest in several ways:

  • Negative self-talk: Believing you're wrong or broken for being attracted to the same gender or having a gender identity that differs from your assigned sex at birth.
  • Shame and guilt: Feeling ashamed or guilty for your feelings or identity.
  • Self-sabotage: Avoiding relationships or situations that could affirm your identity.
  • Internalized stigma: Believing the negative stereotypes associated with LGBTQIA+ people.

Internalized homophobia and transphobia are insidious. These negative beliefs, shaped by societal messages, can burrow deep, whispering lies about your worth and making you doubt your authentic self. However, with practice and support, you have the capacity to overcome them.

Here are some of our tips for confronting those negative inner voices and embracing your authenticity:

Challenge the narrative

When a negative thought pops up, don't just accept it as truth. Question its source. Is it based on fact or fueled by societal norms that may be outdated or prejudiced? Talk back to that voice! Replace negativity with affirmations that celebrate your identity. You are worthy of love and happiness, no matter who you love or how you identify.

Educate yourself and embrace the spectrum

Dive into the rich and beautiful tapestry of LGBTQIA+ experiences. Read books by LGBTQIA+ authors, watch documentaries that explore the lives of LGBTQIA+ people throughout history and across cultures, follow LGBTQIA+ creators on social media. The more you see yourself reflected in the stories and experiences of others, the stronger you become. Understanding the spectrum of identities within the LGBTQIA+ community can also foster a sense of belonging and acceptance.

Find your chosen family

Surround yourself with supportive and affirming people. Look for LGBTQIA+ groups online or in your area. These connections are vital for your well-being. Having a safe space to share your experiences and celebrate your identity with others who understand can be incredibly empowering.

Consider therapy

A therapist specializing in LGBTQIA+ issues can provide a safe and confidential space to unpack your feelings and develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with internalized bias. Therapy can also equip you with tools to navigate challenging situations and build resilience.

Overcoming internalized bias is not a linear journey. There will be setbacks, moments of self-doubt, and days when those negative voices seem loud. But celebrate your victories, no matter how small. Every time you challenge a negative thought or embrace your authentic self, you are taking a step towards self-acceptance. Practice self-compassion — you deserve love and acceptance, especially from yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding.

If you're struggling to overcome internalized homophobia or transphobia on your own, remember you don't have to go through it alone. A therapist who specializes in LGBTQIA+ issues can be a powerful support on your journey to self-acceptance. 

Our therapists at Salt River Therapy have the resources to help you and can provide a safe and confidential space to explore your feelings, develop coping mechanisms, and build resilience. All of our therapists either identify as LGBTQIA+ or are affirming and experienced working with the LGBTQIA+ community. Contact us by clicking the link below and scheduling a free phone consultation with any of our qualified therapists. 


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