Being out is not easy in most parts of the world due to widespread religious beliefs and legal action against people in the LGBTQ community. But homophobia doesn’t come solely from straight people, psychologists are now uncovering what they describe as “internalized homophobia”- the notion that someone is inadvertently perpetuating homophobic ideals through the language and actions used in the gay community by turning negative perceptions inward.. Comments on gay dating applications such as “looking for straight-acting men”, “no fems”, “trade only” can be problematic. As one man explained, it can be harmful to the mental health of gay people who feel limited by “acting straight” and feel like it’s demeaning to their identity.
“Alan doesn’t realize it, but he’s put me in the closet, too. I can’t go on a date with him because no one can see us out together like that, but I can’t go on a date with anyone else, either, because I’m with Alan, which makes no sense. This isn’t the way I want to live. I don’t do well with concealment.”
This has gone on to often exclude trans women, feminine males and drag queens from being viewed as sexually or romantically desirable.
On the other hand, other gay men state that it is a matter of expressing your preferences and finding what makes you happy. In an interview, gay man Corey Wiseman explained the he doesn’t “think that’s internalized homophobia. Those are just preferences. I’m not into fem guys, just like I’m not into older guys. Does that mean I hate older guys? No. It just means I don’t want to date them. I should be able to say I don’t want to date fem guys without being labeled as a homophobe.”
The problem becomes more complex however because there is a concern that these preferences are placing oppressive heterosexual norms on homosexuality. Journalist Simon Moritz comments in his article: What I learned from Gay Sex, that gay people have assimilated into US culture, creating “an “acceptable gay man,” and he was white and masculine and certainly did not say “darling.” It also created and validated a favorite excuse for anti-gay bigotry, “I’m fine with gay people as long as they don’t flaunt it,” because suddenly there were gay people who were not “normal.” “Normal” gay men today ape that heterosexual excuse for bigotry by blaming “abnormal” gays for the the maltreatment of gays as a whole.” Misogynistic ideals and conduct has found its way into the gay community, showing the residual effects that generations of prejudice can be a root of current biases.