What is Internalized Homophobia?

Internalized homophobia refers to the self-hatred or negative feelings that LGBTQ+ individuals may have towards their own sexual orientation or gender identity. These feelings stem from societal stigma, discrimination, and negative stereotypes about LGBTQ+ people, which can be deeply ingrained and internalized over time.

Causes of Internalized Homophobia

  1. Societal Stigma and Discrimination:
    • Widespread societal attitudes that view heterosexuality as the norm and LGBTQ+ identities as abnormal or undesirable can contribute to internalized homophobia.
  2. Negative Media Representation:
    • Media portrayal of LGBTQ+ individuals can often be negative or stereotypical, reinforcing harmful views.
  3. Family and Community Influences:
    • Families and communities that reject or condemn LGBTQ+ identities can significantly impact one’s self-perception.
  4. Religious Beliefs:
    • Some religious doctrines and communities preach against LGBTQ+ identities, fostering feelings of guilt and shame in LGBTQ+ individuals.

Effects of Internalized Homophobia

  1. Mental Health Issues:
    • This is associated with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and suicidal ideation.
  2. Relationship Problems:
    • It can lead to difficulties in forming and maintaining healthy relationships due to fear, mistrust, or self-sabotage.
  3. Substance Abuse:
    • To cope with negative feelings, some may turn to alcohol or drugs, leading to potential addiction.
  4. Reduced Quality of Life:
    • Overall well-being and life satisfaction can be significantly impacted by internalized homophobia.

How to Overcome Internalized Homophobia

  1. Seek Professional Help:
    • Therapy with a professional who specializes in LGBTQ+ issues can provide a safe space to explore and address these concerns
  2. Build a Support Network:
    • Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, and LGBTQ+ communities who accept and affirm your identity.
  3. Educate Yourself:
    • Learning about LGBTQ+ history, rights, and positive representation can help counteract negative stereotypes and self-perceptions.
  4. Practice Self-Compassion:
    • Develop a kinder, more compassionate relationship with yourself. Recognize that internalized homophobia is a product of external societal influences, not a reflection of your true worth.
  5. Engage in Activism:
    • Becoming involved in LGBTQ+ advocacy and activism can empower you and connect you with others working towards the same goals.

The Role of Allies

Allies play a crucial role in combating internalized homophobia. Here’s how allies can help:

  1. Educate Yourself and Others:
    • Learn about LGBTQ+ issues and work to dispel myths and stereotypes within your circles.
  2. Provide Support:
    • Offer emotional support and stand up against homophobia and discrimination whenever you encounter it.
  3. Advocate for Inclusive Policies:
    • Support policies and initiatives that promote LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion in your community and workplace.


Internalized homophobia can deeply impact the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals. Understanding its causes and effects is the first step towards overcoming it. By seeking support, educating oneself, and practicing self-compassion, it is possible to mitigate the negative impacts it can cause.  Allies also play a crucial role in fostering a more inclusive and accepting society. Together, we can create an environment where everyone is free to be their authentic selves without fear or shame. Sign up for a free consultation with one of our talented therapist Click Here