How do you react to someone else's internalized homophobia?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 18, 2007 6:49 PM GMT
    Do you walk away? Do you ask important questions and get him to consider why he thinks the way he does? Does it actually turn you on in an odd way? Do you argue with him or call him out?

    What about when you see it on RJ?

    I ask because I'm starting to notice a few kids appearing in the forums who clearly have some negative issues with their own gay selves. There are even a few 30- and even 40-somethings speaking out against harmless things that other gay men hold dear, and it's obvious there's some emotion and anger behind it.

    When it's a kid, I let it go and trust that they'll figure it out someday. RJ might be an important early step for them. But when it's someone over 30 I chalk it up to something a bit more pathologic and scary, and proactively block the person (which helps me resist the urge to engage them, via reply, in their homophobic mindset).

    Again, how do you guys deal with other gay men who are homophobic (both in person and online)?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 18, 2007 7:24 PM GMT
    In RL, when I come across people like this, I tend to shy away and avoid them if at all possible. I don't see it as my job to change their minds about a whole sub-set of the population. But if I can change their minds about me, then I might have made a great friend and ally. Even in the small mid-west town that I live in, I have only come across maybe a handful of people that are set in that mindset. Most of those either don't know me or don't know I'm gay. Either way, I get along fine with most people.
  • imaxim

    Posts: 94

    Oct 18, 2007 7:29 PM GMT
    I often consider replying, but then I notice that while the faces change over time, the attitude typically remains the same. In other words, there is always one who wants to prove how much more masculine, moral, or fashionable he is than the next guy. It's all just marketing, and unfortunately a lot of people only know how to market themselves at someone else's expense.

    This is particularly self-defeating when guys are hating on each other for being somehow 'more gay' than the next, but I ultimately find I'm grateful to know (in advance) how people think. If I know their minds are that narrow from the beginning, I know I'd probably have a very frustrating time engaging in any sort of debate with them or trying to spark a friendship etc.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 18, 2007 7:29 PM GMT
    I say "you know what? your presence has cured me of my homosexuality. would you please bring me to your home so I can make love to all the available females there? if nobody is home, we can go to your mom's place."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 18, 2007 7:40 PM GMT
    Well, it is not possible to fight every fight but if sufficiently engaged, I respond in the same way that i do to all debates. I don't attack the person or their motives (for instance i am unlikely to accuse someone of homophobia) but I will point out the innate stupidity of their ideas. I feel ideas are not people and they can be treated with scorn if necessary.

    In general i think it is a good idea not to attribute motive for a person's thinking no matter how blindingly obvious that motive may seem to be.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 18, 2007 7:48 PM GMT
    I find the "internalized homophobia" term and even the more general homophobia term to be loaded and overused in the gay community, and it seems gays use it whenever they encounter someone with whom they don't agree with on gay related issues.

    I personally try to not view anyone that way so I don't have a 'blanket' response. If I find the person's posts interesting I'll reply with my opinion. If not, I won't. Simple ;)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 18, 2007 8:23 PM GMT
    Rune: unless i misunderstood i think the question was less related to "whether you found the post interesting" and more focused on the post being bigoted in one way or another. Do you ignore it or get on your white charger?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 18, 2007 8:30 PM GMT
    Well like I said, I won't interpret people as being "internalized homophobics" so I don't think I can answer the question directly as posed. I'll ignore a post that is not interesting to read, and I'll not ignore one that is interesting to read - without any notion of internalized homophobia being assigned to the poster. In other words, I won't assume bigotry when the only thing present is a difference of ideas. Bigotry is much more than that, and I think you would be hard pressed to find real biggotry, especially of the internalized homophobia type, on this forum.
  • imaxim

    Posts: 94

    Oct 18, 2007 9:05 PM GMT
    I look at people's motives, partially because understanding them is a personal interest of mine and partially because it helps me empathize with them a little better. When I see a hateful statement aimed at other gays, it's tempting to consider them stupid or any number of other negative things. It's both more difficult and beneficial (in my opinion) to make at least some effort to understand the person I disagree with... that is, after all, the approach I would ideally wish for them to take with me.

    That said, the times I've seen what I would personally consider internalized homophobia on this forum, it's not been mere differences of opinion so much as unnecessary comments disparaging other gay men... sometimes in particularly hateful ways and even using slurs. These things have no place in a debate, hence they are not symptomatic of a mere difference of opinion. I think that principle still holds true even when the expressions are less extreme, yet the underlying ideas are the same.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 18, 2007 10:15 PM GMT
    Would someone please explain the difference between "homophobia" and "internalized homophobia"?

    Isn't homophobia homophobia? From my perspective, it's prevalent everywhere in the world, including this board. It's very similar to what goes on in parts of the black community. For some, lighter skin is more "admirable". In the gay world, masculinity in a man, for some, is more admirable (I have no experience as a lesbian, so, I won't speculate on femininity). I never hear straight guys talk about masculinity the way gay men do.

    Fear of a Gay Planet.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 18, 2007 10:23 PM GMT
    I've learned over the years to choose my battles wisely. Whether in RL or on line, I take it on a case by case basis. If its something that raises my alarms, I'm more likely to respond.

    I tend to take issue with any kind of broad, sweeping generalizations and those do tend to grab my attention and I may or may not respond.

    If someone directs something of that sort at me, I'm probably going to defend myself and rip them a new one immediately... especially if its someone that doesn't know me or doesn't know me well enough to know of what they're speaking. Same goes if someone is attacking (verbally or otherwise) someone I love or care about, or someone that's not capable of defending themselves.

    As for the way some gay guys speak negatively about other gay men being more gay, less masculine, etc... I usually let that roll off. Why? Because they're simply displaying their own insecurities and that's not my battle to fight. I'm perfectly comfortable and happy being the person I am. Those that don't like me or would seek to change me can promptly step off a cliff... I am me, I will always be me, and if you can't accept me for the person I am, then I don't need you in my life. Period.

  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Oct 19, 2007 2:07 AM GMT
    I find it more offensive that because I find men attractive I am supposed to pick a persona that other gay men will be able to accept and not just be myself.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 19, 2007 3:03 AM GMT
    I tend to agree with Rune that the term "internalized homophobia" is greatly overused. The way it is commonly used now implies intentionality, whereas the actual process of adopting the values of your oppressor is mainly unconscious. Hannah Arendt wrote at length about this in the context of the Holocaust and complicity by ordinary Germans and some Jews themselves.

    She coined the phrase "the banality of evil," by which she meant to suggest that evil is not a radical choice, typically, but the result of complying, over time, with mass culture's opinions. Similarly, homophobia gets communicated to just about everyone in our culture and it is only through self-reflection and critical thinking that people transcend it.

    When I encounter a gay client who can't stop reciting the negative stereotypes of gay culture, it is usually disastrous to suggest "internalized homophobia," since it causes immediate defensiveness -- in large part because, as I said, the process is unconscious.

    On the other hand, it's also not uncommon for clients to show up having already diagnosed their own "internalized homophobia" -- which they invariably try to justify in session after session. Indeed, they often start to regard their homophobia as a pathology over which they have no control. The cognitive error there is that once an unconscious process becomes conscious, it is subject to critical examination. It is no longer inevitable.

    I try to remind such people that being gay is about a particular way of loving. I interrupt their weekly, repetitive litanies of complaints about promiscuity, superficiality, effeminacy, etc., to ask about the importance of love in their lives -- what it's like to live without love, what they do to feel loved when they hold so much contempt for other gay people, etc.

    Outside the consulting room, however, I tend not to bother with such people, unless their persistence makes them unavoidable. In such cases, there is only one effective response in my experience: parody. Indeed, that is what's behind most of what used to be called "camp sensibility."

  • iHavok

    Posts: 1477

    Oct 19, 2007 3:41 AM GMT
    When first reading this I agreed with Rune. Now I'm emphatically agree with him, since the professionals seem to agree with him also.
    LOL
    Just kidding.

    Actually, I have been called a homophobe and my general response is usually something like "no, i'm comfortable with my sexuality that I dont allow it to define me."

    Didn't someone say the general trend in gay population lately has been swinging towards the ultra male personae? It's just a matter of time before camp, drag, and chick jeans makes a come back...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 19, 2007 1:16 PM GMT
    Thanks for the replies.

    I suppose I would agree that adding the word "internalized" to homophobia, other than indicating a homophobic gay man, is an unecessary word. Kind of like the "curious" in "bi-curious" haha.

    If you don't like the term homophobia, or think it's overused, what about "self-loathing"?

    What triggered my original post was an observation recently of non-humorous and even hateful bigotry by gay men against other gay men. Think of statements like "I don't go to musicals...musicals are for pussy faggots!".

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 19, 2007 1:23 PM GMT
    Non humurous? Gay men without a funny bone? You've got to be joking! (no pun intended)

    I have never encountered so many humorless people on one site in all the time I've been goofing off on the net as I have in the brief time I've been coming here. And I do not mean guys who don't laugh at my jokes, I mean guys that laugh at nothing but merely put on the nurse ratchet attitude with every post they make. There are many here like that. Very self important and probably really dull in the sack and real buzz kills. Fortunately, there are also some with great, sick, senses of humor.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 19, 2007 1:28 PM GMT
    I'd like to think I bring both, as well as being heart-racingly hypnotic in the sack. ;-) Or something like that.

    One of the problems may be that people are afraid of being seen as hypocrites. When I joke around on here I am conscious of how I might have made a serious post at another time that might contradict my humor.

    Then I remember how boring consistency is.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 19, 2007 1:31 PM GMT
    I just try my best not to be gaysist. as in either conform to the stereotype of gay or calling a guy gay because he sounds or has mannerisms closer to that of a conforming female. icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 19, 2007 1:43 PM GMT
    I don't know what the big deal is with the female/feminine association either. Everyone pops out of a woman. I don't think women have started any wars, at least recently. Be grateful for every ounce of femininity out there.
  • art_smass

    Posts: 960

    Oct 19, 2007 1:44 PM GMT
    BriarhawkIt's just a matter of time before camp, drag, and chick jeans makes a come back...

    Why didn't you tell me that before I threw away my wigs?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 19, 2007 3:36 PM GMT
    Geez. They already HAVE come back.

    In fact, RuPaul is back in Atlanta this week.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Oct 19, 2007 4:50 PM GMT
    To compound on McGay's post...

    We were all physically female at an early point; we just took a different route and started developing dicks (something akin to over-developed clitori?).

    As for wars, there was that Iron Lady back in eighties and a little incident with Argentina icon_razz.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 19, 2007 4:59 PM GMT
    Thanks for the example you provided otherwise I would have been scratching my head about any examples of "internalized" homophobia that may have been posted. I agree that quote is pretty bad, using faggot at any time is inappropriate. I find that younger people just out of high school and new to the gay community are less likely to be tolerant of effeminate men. I saw this with the whole Chris Crocker controversy on MyTube, with some of the most virulent attacks coming from young gays who feel he is giving gays a bad name.

    I must admit when I first came out at the advanced age of 25 I found it hard to get used to effeminate men, these were the guys you avoided in high school and university if you wanted to survive socially. I am comfortable with effeminate behaviour now but it did take awhile.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 19, 2007 6:09 PM GMT
    The best thing about being old is not giving a fuck about what other people think.
    I wouldn't trade that confidence and comfort for anything including being 18 again.
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    Oct 19, 2007 6:54 PM GMT
    Sad thing is, there are still "old guys" who are gay and still using the word faggot and caring way too much about whether someone will poke fun at them for being gay.