Internalized homophobia: Is it an emotion?

Here's an email I received that sums up the emotions (shame, guilt, embarrassment, anger) that often accompany internalized homophobia:

Dear Michael: I am gay and have been out since I've been 18 (I'm now 25), but I gotta tell you: I hate the way most gay men act and it embarrasses me to be gay. I am not some macho "straight-acting" guy, but neither am I a man who wants to be called "hey girl". Do I have a problem or are most gay men just a mess?

Embarrassed in Hillcrest

Internalized homophobia is self-hatred aimed at ourselves for being gay/bi/trans men. While I respect the writer's preference for more masculine men, I question why more feminine men provoke his embarrassment and anger. If you think that your gay brothers are "just a mess", that says more about you than it does about them. Shame is an emotion that says: you're not good enough, Guilt says: you did it wrong and you must pay. Embarrassment says: You should feel bad about yourself. Anger says: who I am - or who you are - really pisses me off.

These emotions (and others) come on the wagon train of internalized homophobia. When we secretly feel bad about being gay/bi/trans, a lot of difficult emotions are bound to surface. Most of us have some kind of anti-gay/bi/trans feelings inside us, but what do we do with them? We start by telling the truth about what we think and feel. This is the first step on the path to freedom. We stop fooling ourselves. Even if we convince others we're cool, what really matters is what we say to ourselves. Our own self-opinion is much more powerful than what others think of us. This is why our own unspoken homophobia has great destructive power to mess with us consciously and - especially - unconsciously. 

For example, if you say you want a certain kind of partner or job or career, but you feel bad about your sexual orientation, you'll probably find lots of subtle ways to subconsciously sabotage yourself. Haven't you seen all these huge, overly muscled gym bunnies who can never get big enough to assuage their internalized fears of being too "feminine"? A very wise, older friend of mine used to say, "The bigger the muscles, the smaller the self-confidence." I'm not saying that this is always true, but it's worth thinking about.

Gay/bi/trans men come in all shapes, sizes, colors, religions and degrees of masculinity, androgyny and femininity. If really masculine men annoy you, then figure out why. Is it envy? Is it because you haven't yet expressed that side of you? If really feminine men make you uncomfortable, do the same: figure out why. Is it envy that they can be so emotionally free? Would you like to be able to express that side of yourself but find it makes you cringe? Most of us are "triggered" by other gay/bi/trans men in some ways, and these "triggered" emotions are the little alarm clocks I spoke of earlier that are encouraging us to "Wake up and pay attention! There's something here worth investigating."

When homophobia shows up in your life, don't stick your head under the pillows and hope it will simply go away. Instead, wake up and take a look at what's going on. We all have little bits of homophobia that tend to linger: it's part of living in this heterosexist world. So when homophobia rears its ugly head, let's identify it and own it so we can - ultimately - let it fade away back into the heterosexist craziness from where it originated.

National Margarita Day

A lot of us have really picked up an interest in tequila and it's no wonder. Its popularity is soaring in the U.S. and doesn't look like it'll be slowing down any time soon. The only contender would probably be whiskey. Meh, but they have their own day. Now, it's National Margarita Day and we put together some of the best margarita recipes around so you can pick one or maybe even all of them to try.

We have a few surprises in there too. Maybe it's not all about tequila but it certainly has a theme going on. Take a look at some of these great tequila brands and start making some amazing margaritas today!

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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For many students, attending university is a profound, often life-changing, transition. It is often the student’s first time living on their own without parental supervision. This lifestyle is also accompanied by a period of self-discovery, of defining and redefining a sense of personal identity largely independent of the influence of family and friends from home.

For students who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, this rite of passage can also be a deeply empowering one. Indeed, attending university may be the student’s first real opportunity to explore their gender identity in a safe, comfortable, and accepting college.

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José Cuervo's Reserva de la Familia agave fields

Disclaimer: My trip was provided courtesy of a press trip but all opinions about the trip and events are my own. Please note there are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase.

I had the opportunity to visit Mexico for an event José Cuervo was putting on, the unveiling of their premium tequila brand, Reserva de la Familia. The trip was all about tequila, how to drink it properly, how to pair it with food, and of course, visiting various points of interest in Guadalajara while tasting tequila along the way.

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