How to Survive a Girls ONLY Slumber Party -
Internalized Homophobia Edition
It’s me again—your friendly neighborhood lesbian.
In this post, I’d like to talk about internalized homophobia. The best way to define internalized homophobia is the involuntary tendency of LGBTQ+ individuals to invalidate and marginalize themselves and others. Often these individuals suffer from emotional distress, and shame, and are overall unhappy with themselves. There’s no specific age range for who can be affected and most people aren’t even self-aware of it.
If you’re reading this, you’re off to a good start. The first step to solving most (if not all) mental health issues is to acknowledge and define them. And with most (if not all) mental health issues it’s a daily ongoing battle. From my experience, I probably lost most (if not all) of those battles every single day throughout high school. Internalized homophobia is so common that I’m positive most (you’re relieved I didn’t say “if not all” aren’t you?) of you have or are experiencing it.
Have no fear because Kaitlyn is here and I’m going to share my experiences with mental health and how I overcame my struggles.
If you’re experiencing internalized homophobia, please know that you’re not alone. I went through my struggles throughout high school. Sometimes I still have trouble. I’m now 21 years old and I’ve been out of the closet for approximately eight years. It takes a lot of mental work, but you can overcome it and walk away a better person. You might even be stronger because of it. Maybe not Superman strong, but nobody needs to be able to lift the Empire State Building and not break a sweat.
Full disclosure: I’m NOT a doctor. What I write is not professional medical advice. These are based on my personal experiences. The objective is to build a strong support system and to show those of you who are struggling right now that you’re not alone. As I said in my first story, “How Did You Know?”, these might not apply to everyone. If you’re looking for a medical diagnosis or professional advice, please consult a doctor.
Below are my tips on How to Survive a Girls ONLY Slumber Party - Internalized Homophobia Edition:
1. Bring an extra pillow and blanket.
2. Positive vibes only.
3. The DD Rule.
4. Bring your A+ game for truth or dare, five minutes in heaven, and spin the bottle.
5. Do what works for you!
My first tip is to bring an extra pillow and blanket. I mean this literally and figuratively. There’s an ongoing joke that the host of the party will forget to provide you with adequate bedding. We all know bedtime is going to roll around and your toes are going to become bricks of ice. And your internalized homophobia is going to make you feel too shameful, guilty, and gross to share the bed with your friends…
Just trust me and bring the extra comfort items.
My hidden meaning is to take care of yourself. Getting enough rest, drinking plenty of water, and having healthy habits are good ways to battle mental health. I know it’s easier said than done, but you have to start somewhere. Once you begin it’s easier to continue and build it into a routine. Mental health and physical health go hand in hand, in my opinion. Kind of like your two besties that are always hanging out. If one is going through something, the other will make it her problem too.
Suffering Sappho! We’ve got to end this cycle of feeling like crap and work towards a happier future!
Stop! Positive vibes only past this point!
Negative Nancy needs to take a hike. We’ve all had friends and family members that bring us down. I’ve noticed that people usually underestimate how bullying can severely affect their image. You might not even realize that it’s hurting you at the time. I sure didn’t! The best advice that I can come up with for this kind of situation is to love your most judgemental friends and family members from afar. Keep up with them on social media, and text them, but avoid seeing them in person for a while.
It wasn’t until I took a break from my friend that I realized how she was unintentionally hurting me. At the time I didn’t like anything about myself. I’d often call myself bad names or make fun of myself. I snapped out of my funk when another friend said the nicest thing to this date to me.
She said, “Stop calling yourself that. You’re one of the nicest people I know and there’s nothing wrong with you. I don’t know why anyone would ever say that about you. You deserve better than that.”
And she said it with such confidence that I believed her. I did deserve better than that.
You deserve better than that, too.
I started to practice positive self-talk after that. There’s a weird mixture of embarrassment and determination when you stare at yourself in the mirror and say “I love you” out loud. Especially if you don’t like what you’re seeing. It’s hard to be a witness to your thoughts, but once you detach yourself from them you’ll notice your illogical, self-judgments. It took a lot of hard work and rewiring in my brain, but eventually, I started to see the glass as half full.
Please do yourself a favor and do not invite your negative Nancy to the party.
This next one is probably my favorite nip—I mean tip! The DD rule.
Let me explain. The DD rule is something I made up. It stands for discrimination and disrespect. If/when you come out, you’re going to get a mixture of reactions. I’m not going to sit here and tell you it’s all rainbows and unicorns when you leave that closet. It’s going to be scary, and lonely, and there’s a possibility of you getting hurt. Don’t just expect people to understand and move on, but don’t tolerate discrimination and/or disrespect.
Everyone says to just come out, but there’s more to it than just saying “I’m gay”. Prepare yourself for questions and backlash. Internalized homophobia develops when you start to believe in society's homophobic biases. Stop it right at the source. It doesn’t even need to be a confrontation. Politely correct them and move on. And when that doesn’t work, you know not to invite them to your next slumber party. They can go hang out with negative Nancy for all I care.
I don’t know if you noticed, but I’ve been using superhero catchphrases throughout this post and I’m beginning to run out of ideas. I just came up with these two and I can’t decide which one is worse: Lesbian, SMASH! (Hulk) Or I am Lesbian (Like Batman….you know?...)
My next tip is slumber party themed because that’s when you usually participate in these middle school games. Bring your A+ game for truth or dare, five minutes in heaven, and spin the bottle. Especially if your crush happens to be at the party. Now is a good time to see if you’re a good match with the said crush. Ask her questions (nobody chooses dare), give her a smooch, and spend five minutes alone with her in the closet (okay, the last one is kind of awkward).
My point is to make sure you’re choosing to date people that are worth your time. Don’t just jump into a relationship because you have no other option. Pick people that you deserve, but first, make sure that they deserve you. When I was in high school, I chose all the wrong people to date. I got cheated on, I was underappreciated, and I just didn’t feel secure or happy. That took a toll on my mental health.
Now for my last tip and my conclusion.
These are some ways I recovered from my internalized homophobia. I tried to keep it light-hearted, but in all seriousness, mental health is very important. My last tip for this post is to do what works best for you. As I said multiple times, what works for me won’t always work for you. Maybe what works for you is starting a journal or talking to a therapist.
Now I’m not saying that doing these things will make you feel better overnight. It takes time, patience, and persistence. We all work through things differently and this is no exception. Take however long you need. We’re here for you. I’m here for you.
"The future is worth it. All the pain. All the tears. The future is worth the fight." - Marian Manhunter.
Thanks for the read, superhero!
Up, up and away!
About the author
I'm sure you've guessed that my name is not actually Bob. My name is Kaitlyn, nice to meet you. I'm sure you know 3+ of us. According to Google, there's 660 variations of my name.
(Where are my Caitlyn, Caitlin, and Katlynn's at???)
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