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Transcending Homophobia

The surge in anti-gay bullying and violent attacks on gay men is quite disturbing – particularly in New York City where diversity and tolerance is the norm, recent random attacks are hard to comprehend. Moreover, the rise in suicide among gay teens is truly heartbreaking.

How do these events affect us as gay men and what can we do about it?

For many, these incidences can re-stimulate past hurts and struggles of being bullied, harassed or discriminated against for being gay. Further, hearing about anti-gay attacks in places we deemed safe can instill fear, causing us to withdraw and hide our true selves from others. But we must not succumb to our fears or absorb the hatred and prejudices of others. We need to be strong and stand proud of who we are.

All of us have internalized many negative voices about our sexual orientation throughout the years. If these thoughts and beliefs remain unconscious they can lead to disastrous consequences as we have already seen with the recent adolescent suicides. These conflicts can also inhibit our lives and keep us from living more fully.

Does internalized homophobia prevent you from asserting yourself in the workplace? Does it keep you from engaging in a love relationship for fear of being “perceived” as gay in society? Has it eroded your self-esteem causing you to feel that you are just “not good enough”?

Self-awareness, self-acceptance and loving yourself are the keys to freedom from this negativity. Loving yourself can be difficult when you have limiting and derogatory messages still playing in your unconscious mind. Most of these messages were absorbed and recorded during childhood. You may still be influenced by the beliefs of your parents, teachers, religious institutions, and others that were drummed into you years ago. What beliefs are you still holding onto today? Are they serving you or harming you? You can start to change negative thoughts and beliefs by increasing your level of self-awareness and by learning to love and accept yourself more each day.

As much of a cliché as it sounds; the most important person to learn to love is yourself. Be gentle and kind to yourself. Find ways to love, nurture and support yourself. Do things that bring you pleasure. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good. Find positive role models and if you need assistance seek out support – talk to a trusted friend, family member, therapist or coach about your experiences. Join a support group at your local GLBT Community Center. Do not isolate or give in to thoughts of self-hatred, depression and suicide. You deserve so much more and your life can and will get better with each new day. Remember! Time does not stand still – whatever troubles you now will not last forever. No matter what’s stopping you from believing in and loving yourself, there’s a way to overcome it. You first need to identify what’s causing your self-doubt. Is it fear, insecurity, mental attitudes, or something else? Only then can you face the obstacle and overcome it. Most importantly, work to eliminate internalized homophobia and learn to love your incredible gay self!


As Featured On EzineArticles

The Joy of Laughter

“Laughter is the best medicine” is a phrase that dates back to biblical times as an old Proverb and it’s still widely used today all over the world. That’s because it’s true!

Let’s take a look at what happens inside your body, mind and spirit when you laugh.

Laughter’s Effect on Your Body

Endorphins are released throughout your body, stimulating muscles, nerves, organs and tissues when you laugh. Studies show these endorphins give relief to chronic pain, help to relieve stress and promote functioning of the immune system. Laughter literally helps heal your body.

Laughter and Your Mind

Happy thoughts lead to a more positive outlook on life. When you’re hanging out with friends and having good conversation that produces smiles and laughter, your mind’s producing happy thoughts.

On the other hand, if you’re always around people who never smile and always find something to complain about, you’ll lean toward a more negative outlook on life.

Strengthening Your Inner Being

Laughing causes your inner being to be emotionally and physically strengthened. When you laugh or even smile, your inner being is stimulated in an affirmative way, producing a more positive outlook on life. This helps your body produce more self-healing endorphins, which actually helps your body remain healthy and running optimally!

Boosting Your Spirits

Laughter causes a lift in your spirits, helping you feel uplifted. Laughter not only helps you personally, it’s also very contagious and infectious, which helps those around you feel less stress and anxious.

Don’t you just love it when you hear a baby or toddler laugh? What happens to you? You can’t help but laugh too! Laughter begins to develop in humans as early as 3 months of age and a baby’s laughter is one of the most contagious of all human sounds.

Laughter and Your Relationships

When two people share a funny story or a silly situation arises between two people, there’s a unique bonding that is created. Something special is formed between the two that only they can relate with. It’s an inside joke that is special to those who’ve shared in the moment.

When two people spend a lot of time together in laughter, a stronger, more ever-lasting relationship develops.

Studies show couples that laugh together stay together much longer, if not for life. Think about a truly happy couple you know. Sure, everyone has their issues and relationships takes work, but chances are they spend a lot of time laughing together. This doesn’t happen by accident either. It can be created and fostered!

When you choose to embrace laughter, you’ll be able to get through many more rough spots in life and come out a happier and healthier person.

Life can be tough, so why not choose to make it more joyous? You can if you choose to.

Always try to find joy in every situation and laugh as often as possible each and every day. Also, by spending more time around positive people, who love life and love to laugh, you’ll be amazed at how you begin to feel on the inside and out!

LIGALY

LIGALY – The Network is an umbrella organization that provides administrative and fundraising support to its three affiliate organizations: LIGALY, The Long Island GLBT Community Center (The Center), and Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders – Long Island (SAGE-LI).

Learn more here:  http://www.ligaly.org