2021 will mark a full decade since the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, and only six years since global superpower, the United States, passed the same law. Despite the incredible advances that have been made for the LGBT community over the years, it is apparent that there is still much work left to be done before queer identities worldwide can finally call themselves free — both physically and mentally.
While laws may have changed in an effort to encourage LGBT support, there remains a concerningly large number of groups who continue to shame the LGBT community in their attempt to overthrow years of progress. This form of homophobia is one of the leading causes of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem for a majority of queer individuals and has a large impact on gay dating overall.
Fortunately, Rainbow Fellowship Global Network (RFGN) believes that, with some hard work, these negative emotions can be overthrown. Read on as we present the latest in LGBT information.
What Causes Homophobia?
First and foremost, it is important to recognize how some individuals become homophobic in the first place. While most believe that an aversion to gay dating is caused by factors such as religion, there actually quite a few causes behind this worldwide phenomenon, including:
- Culture: Studies have revealed that homophobia can be a product of one’s culture with particular emphasis on age, ethnicity, social class and education. This also includes homophobia encouraged by media, social norms and more.
- Institutional Oppression: Similar to racism, many suggest that institutional powers — including government officials — actively oppose the LGBT community in an effort to maintain oppression and increase their own power.
- Sexual Repression: In 1996, a study revealed that homophobia may be a self-defense mechanism for those with repressed homosexual desires.
Because there are so many possible reasons for it, homophobia is, unfortunately, not something that can be cured. However, much like a flu or cold, RFGN believes that it is something that can be prevented with the right forms of LGBT support.
How Can Homophobia Be Prevented?
While there is no easy answer for this question, there are more than a few possibilities where progress can be made. Of these, Rainbow Fellowship Global Network expects education to make the most impact.
For years, it has been understood that education is a leeway into understanding. Whether perceived through media, school or the workplace, the more people are accustomed to viewing the LGBT community, the more likely they are to be accepting of their gay peers. In fact, reports have shown that the inclusion of LGBT information in school curriculums can eliminate stereotypes and prevent biases against the LGBT community — therefore normalizing gay dating and culture.
For instance, teachers in classrooms can teach students about the rich history behind many gay icons, including:
- Harvey Milk: The first openly gay elected official in the history of California.
- Audre Lord: American writer, feminist and civil rights activist.
- Bayard Rustin: American civil rights leader.
Of course, these are only some notable names from American culture — there are countless more historical individuals around the world who deserve recognition.
By allowing students — both straight and gay — to receive a deeper understanding of the LGBT community as a whole, RFGN hopes that education can eventually overcome homophobia and improve LGBT support worldwide.
LGBT Quality of Life
While the future is bright, progress can be slow, and there are still thousands of queer individuals who face harassment, discrimination and hate on a daily basis because of their identities. As leaders work on things like education and reform, it is still important for those in the LGBT community to ensure their quality of life remains high, happy and fruitful.
Rainbow Fellowship Global Network recommends following these tips:
Seek Help If You Need It
Mental health is more important than ever, especially for LGBT individuals. If you find yourself struggling, a therapist can help you to overcome issues related to gay dating, self-esteem, anxiety and more.
Find A Support Community
There is no shortage of resources for LGBT support, making it easy to discover local support groups that can help you avoid feelings of isolation. There are even online sites — like RFGN — where you can discover other resources and LGBT information.
Surround Yourself with Allies
Living as a queer individual can be difficult if done alone. By locating allies to the cause, you can ensure your social group is supportive and understanding of the challenges you face.