Homophobia and Heteronormativity

HOMOPHOBIA: the irrational fear or hatred of homosexuality.

Homophobia is often rooted in an individual’s psychological makeup, where they aren’t even aware that they are homophobic. This is called internalized homophobia. 

Canada is often viewed as the world leader of LGBTQ+ rights, however a 2019 report from Ryerson University found a total of 263 police related hate crimes that were of sexual orientation motivation. 

Pinkwashing: A political strategy to wash away the bad acts by pointing to positive ways in which they’ve treated members of the community. 

A survey found that 1 in 4 students of high school age are subject to homophobic treatment from classmates and peers. 


How We Communicate

How we communicate on a day-to-day basis tends to be quite heteronormative. Heteronormativity is able to create a fundamental ideology that discriminates against those who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, Heteronormativity is reinforced through the government, the media, school, religious institutions, etc. It plays a major role in everyday communication. 

I believe that how we communicate must change to become more inclusive to everyone in society’s community. I believe some simple changes would be to use gender neutral language when talking to strangers or acquaintances you may not know as well, and not using slurs, as there is no reason to be using them anyways. 

Many members of the community struggle with their sexuality due to the heteronormative community and the way we communicate. 


Internalized Homophobia

Internalized homophobia occurs to members of the community who are subject to negative societal perceptions and stigmas. As a result, we internalize this and believe that it is true. 

Homophobia plays a part in how members of the community view themselves: some gay and bisexual individuals tend to have negative attitudes and regards of self due to internalized homophobia. I believe that because of heteronormativity, internalized homophobia is something that we are all subject to, regardless of if you identify with the community or not. 

  I believe that internalized homophobia exists within everybody, and is not solely just a gay exprience, even if you are not outwardly homophobic. Saying things like asking a queer couple to keep their relationship on the down low, is in fact, homophobic. 

Being uncomfortable around a same- sex couple, is also homophobic. 

People are judged not by sexual orientation but by others simply looking at others. We see people expressing themselves differently and that elicits fear. Anyone who goes against the grain or social norm is at risk for discrimination and possibly hatred.

Some symptoms of internalized homophobia a person may experience can include: 

The Fear of Coming Out

Can be worse when an individual is part of a club such as a sports team, however is prominent for most gay youth. 48% of Canadian youth who come out to their teammates report being the target of homophobia including but not limited to bullying, slurs, and even assault.

How To Be A Good Ally

1. Research

2. Listen 

3. No performative allyship

4. Speak up in your social circles 

5. Be uncomfortable – most of these topics are still taboo in today’s society.

6. Learn from and recognize mistakes

7. Amplify voices of BIPOC and other marginalized communities

8. Show up – make sure your actions match your words. 

About the Author

My name is Shelby Dumont, I am a second year university student at the University of Alberta. I began my studies last year with my studies focused on psychology. I have also taken some healthcare classes, helping me find my true interest in politics and equality. I am majoring in political science, with a minor in women’s and gender studies. After I graduate, I hope to work in policy and human rights. My pronouns are she/her. Some of my hobbies include listening to and creating music, meditating, and binging Netflix.
I wanted to join WEW because I believe that positivity and empowerment will in turn create positive change. I was interested in the blog writing committee specifically because I also believe in the power of words. Having a platform to shed light on a plethora of social justice issues is a great tool to raise awareness and practise inclusivity. By being able to articulate my thoughts and opinions, I am hoping to provide information for others to be able to form their own opinions as well. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved to create new worlds through my words and thoughts, and I am grateful for the opportunity for my ideas to be able to impact the real world. My hope is that by reading and learning, the world will become more accepting and accommodating. Being open and honest can influence others to do the same, and share their stories and points of view, which I think is crucial to social justice.