"For most of us, growing up gay in a homophobic culture presents major challenges to developing strong self-esteem. Along with whatever positive messages we received from significant others about our accomplishments, our abilities, and their love for us, we received many blatant or subtle negative messages about our sexuality and how well we did or did not conform to gender expectations. These messages may have come from those who otherwise loved and supported us, in addition to coming from popular culture, religious institutions, peers and educators. As adults, we must make an effort to rid ourselves of the vestiges of these negative messages and restore a sense of positive self-regard. Many of us are grappling with shame stemming from messages that we are sick, disgusting or sinful. It may be difficult for us to feel fully at ease with being open our sexuality or expressing same-sex affection, even in private."
Even worse than just sexuality, those blatant and subtle negatively reinforcing messages are aimed at the most personal and fundamental aspect of being human, our ability to love, and who and how we love.