Handling Homophobic Reactions and Harassment

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Homophobia is the fear of or hostility to gay people or homosexuality. Homophobic people are those who object to or oppose gay people. Homophobia manifests itself in different extents and often violently. Regrettably, there is no way to know how well your friends, family, or coworkers will accept your gender identity. Some people may surprise you by being very open and accepting, whereas others may have difficulty accepting that you are bisexual or gay.
Dealing with Homophobic Reactions
From Your Family

Be patient

Your family and friends will eventually accept, if not embrace, your sexual identity. Allow them time to acclimate and don’t force them to understand immediately. Acknowledge their anger, fear and confusion. Your family will most likely have their reaction or ‘coming out’ process. They may make spiteful or hurtful comments or even be upset and angry. While their reactions may be hard for you to bear, understand that it’s better for them to say them out loud rather than bottle them up.
They may be fearful about what other people- including your extended family or friends- may say about you. They could be worried that you may be harassed or even victimised due to your orientation. Depending on your culture, they may also think that they won’t have grandchildren from you.

Help them learn by your experience.

Before you came out, you probably felt many of the same emotions (isolation, fear of denial, hurt, uncertainty, fear of the unknown, and so on) that your family members are experiencing now. Don’t demand your parents to understand everything right away; instead, help them understand from your perception. Keep in mind that your family members will need to adjust to their new situation. They, like you, require time to recognise and accept your homosexuality.

From Friends
Your friends, particularly old pals, may require time to embrace your sexual orientation.
Unfortunately, some people may never acknowledge it at all. Keep in mind that while you cannot choose your family, you get to choose your mates.
And true friends are those who embrace you regardless of your flaws.
Inform them that you fully comprehend they are struggling to understand or even try to agree with you right presently, but you still want their support and encouragement.

From Strangers
Dealing with homophobic people isn’t easy, but keep your goals in mind, not theirs. Don’t be ashamed to grab your partner’s hand when someone makes a snide comment. If anybody says anything impolite to you, disregard it. Do not fire back or lose your cool. If sexual orientation is a problem for them, then let it be. Realise that being gay or bisexual does not give anyone the right to make you feel sad or shameful.

Dealing with Workplace Harassment
Many gender-nonconforming employees face harassment in the workplace in the form of anti-gay remarks or homophobic actions. Sexual orientation bullying or workplace discrimination can manifest itself in a variety of ways.
Among the most common are:

• “Remarks” that promote negative stereotypes of LGBTQ people.
• Notices or posters disparaging gay or bi people.
• Email, inter-office mail, or text messages or interactions intended to intimidate someone based on their sexual orientation.
• Derogatory or foul language or physical abuse aimed at intimidating, ridiculing, or injuring somebody for their gender identity.
If you believe you are being bullied because of your sexual orientation, speak to somebody about it. Consult with your Personnel Department or a manager or supervisor with who you’re comfortable.
• Don’t tolerate stereotypical portrayals and opinions about transgender people if a coworker is being bullied because of their sexuality.
• Show them dignity and be supportive.
Offer to escort the individual when making a complaint.
• Call out homophobic behaviour and attitudes among your coworkers.

Don’t engage in any inappropriate joking or dialogue.
Speak up about your feelings about accepting others regardless of sexual orientation.

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