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Finding it hard to cut through

Hey there, 

 

First post here. 

 

I've been openly gay for nearly 6 years, a management consultant, and a person of colour.  

 

I've felt a whole heap of shame for being gay despite supportive friends and family. When I was younger that shame expressed itself in angry outbursts, irrational behaviour, strange fantasies, self harm and suicidal ideation. These days, I'm more quietly ashamed but still desperate for comfort. 

 

I find it hard to communicate these feelings of shame because its ever present and subdues every day. My friends, most of whom are straight, say 'We love you, why would you need to be ashamed, you're amazing blah blah blah?' but it doesn't quite cut through. 

 

The only way that I can attract attention to the fact that I feel victimised by society and the pressures, particularly in the corporate world, to be 'straight acting', is by fictionalising stories about experiences of racism. Some of them are true, some of them are exaggerated, and some of them are downright lies. When I espouse these stories, only then, will people turn to me and say 'Wow, actually you are doing it tough,' but it's never enough to get the comfort that I actually need, and I hate lying. It makes me feel bad. It's not me. I haven't really ever experienced outright homophobia, only the subtle looks, the scoffs, the whispering, strange assumptions and the like, but when I express my frustration with these things, it is met with 'You're being sensitive again, they didn't mean anything by it,' but what frustrates me is that people fail to see that although homophobia has moved from overt to subliminal it still hurts the gay community.  

 

Finally, has anyone else felt being a POC gay person that you can't really enjoy the mainstream gay community? I feel so out of place and that's where I feel the subtle racism TRULY exists. When you're not 6'4, white and muscular you're pretty much trash. Anyone have any advice? 

Re: Finding it hard to cut through

Hey @ZadieGeorgeRowling, welcome to the forums!

 

That sounds so difficult, I'm really sorry that you've had to experience all of that.. 

 

I'm white, honestly I don't know what it feels like to have racism directed at me, but I'm so, so sorry that you've had to experience it..

 

I'm non-binary, but I "get" to experience homophobia as well since I look more like the gender I'm attracted to, plus hearing all of the fear-mongering "radical gender ideas" adds that were going around during the plebiscite. No one stood up for NB people after those adds where published.. 

 

I know what you mean about the subtle homophobia.. it's almost easier when it's overt, because it's easy to get angry at them, and a large part of society is willing to stand with you. When someone's overtly homophobic, it's easier to call them out for it, but when it's just "jokes", people don't seem to know or care how much it can hurt, and it's like no one else cares or even notices. Having someone invalidate your feelings only adds to the pain.

It's awful when people reduce an important part of you to the punchline of a joke or a throw away insult, and I cannot describe the anger I feel when a marginalized group marginalizes another group. I've no idea what the hell it's meant to achieve, but it's such a common thing in so many groups and communities.

I hate that some of the only truly accepting places I can find are online, but I guess the good news is that they exist somewhere at least.

 

I'm sorry about how ramble-y this post is, believe it or not this is the shortened version..

But we have a few LGBTQ+ people here, and some threads specifically about being gay, which I could tag you into if you want?

I've found everyone here to be really supportive, and maybe some if us could offer you the comfort and support that you need. I can't imagine the pain of needing to lie for people to validate your struggles, and I really hope that here is a place where you're comfortable expressing yourself more.

Re: Finding it hard to cut through

Also; a thread from the forum that might be useful:
https://forums.au.reachout.com/t5/Everyday-life-stuff/LGBTQ-Hello-s/td-p/258728/page/8

 

It hasn't been used for a bit I think..? (I'm terrible with dates...) But there are probably a few other gay and people there, and I'm sure some of them would also be willing to chat. I'll be here too if you want, but I'm also aware that my rambling can get a little annoying for some people..

Re: Finding it hard to cut through

Hey there @ZadieGeorgeRowling and welcome to ReachOut,

 

It can be difficult to get comfort and support from others who don't quite understand what you're going through. It is absolutely okay to be frustrated at the subtle homophobia you are experiencing. While others might see jokes as just being fun, it doesn't mean that it isn't affecting you. 

Aside from your friends, is there anyone else you've tried to talk to about your experiences? Such as a professional? 

 

As @Tiny_leaf has already mentioned, we do have quite a few threads around the LGBT+ community including the one they linked above, that might interest you. 

 

I was also wondering if you're over 25, as our forums are for 14-25 years, some of our resources and helplines won't be applicable if you're over 25. You can read more about our guidelines here


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I am finishing with ReachOut this week, say good-bye here. I'll miss you all!

Re: Finding it hard to cut through

Howdy @Jay-RO ! I am 24, if you need me to verify somehow let me know. 

Re: Finding it hard to cut through

Hey @ZadieGeorgeRowling I just wanted to jump in here and say that I am so sorry that you've had to experience racism and homophobia, subtle or not.

As a straight, European person, I'm very privileged to not have such behaviour directed at me, and I am so very sorry that it's been directed at you. Your feelings are valid - if you're hurt or upset, it doesn't make you "too sensitive," it makes you human.

I hope that you can find a support network that validates your experiences rather than dismissing them.

Sending you lots of support. We're always here to listen Smiley Happy  

// Spiral outward, keep going. //

Re: Finding it hard to cut through

hey @ZadieGeorgeRowling , thank you so much for posting Heart

I can hear how frustrating it is for you, to have your experiences and internal struggles dismissed as not being important, even if it's intended to be comforting. I really agree with you, the subtle prejudice the LGBT community faces alongside the overt hatred has really awful effects too Smiley Sad 

I'm a bit like you in that i've struggled a lot with shame and my identity, still do sometimes, and that shame was really reinforced by all of the thoughtless and 'not that bad' comments that i heard from those around me and the media. 

It's definitely understandable that you really need your voice to be heard, and that sometimes you do things you don't necessarily enjoy, like lying, out of frustration, even if it's not ideal. You're only human Heart Heart

I know you mentioned feeling pushed to the edges of the LGBT community (you're definitely right there, we've got some prejudices lurking of our own in a lot of LGBT spaces Smiley Sad ), but i was wondering if you were linked in to any LGBT community groups? sometimes they have specific services/events etc. for people of colour to connect and speak about their experiences, do you think that might be worth giving a try? Even just generally i think there'd be a lot of people struggling with the same subtle day-to-day hurt that you do...

I was also wondering if you've ever tried contacting Q-life? They've got a webchat and hotline, and i know lots of people on here have found them really helpful when dealing with identity struggles/homophobia/transphobia Heart 

Would love to keep hearing how you're doing Heart xx




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We're having a SLOW-MO Getting Real chat to do with Generational Differences, starting on Monday the 11th of November! Smiley Very Happy Check it out here! Heart

Re: Finding it hard to cut through

Hey! This was such a beautiful message to receive! Thanks so much! I've not yet tried Q-Life, I travel a lot for work so it can be difficult to feel a part of a community but maybe I should hit i up and have a look! What has your experience been in the gay community?

Re: Finding it hard to cut through

Oh man, @ZadieGeorgeRowling i did not see this reply in my notifications!! Heart It probably feels like this response is coming a year late, huge apology from my end Heart Smiley Sad

My experience in the gay community might be a bit different to a lot of people, especially because i'm a lesbian and not a guy. I know that the dating scene for guys can be really different, and like you've mentioned it has it's own internal set of prejudices sometimes Smiley Sad That being said my experiences in the LGBT community have been really positive, but I've kind of refrained from entering too far into the whole bar scene etc. (i'm pretty shy) which might be why? (Not that it isn't fun though! Smiley Happy)

 

The most encouraging times I've had with other LGBT people was through volunteering. Because it was just tonnes of people of all backgrounds and ages talking and sharing their experiences and it made you feel so connected. Heart People who've been with their partner for 40 years who can now get married, women 10 years older than me with advice for being out in the workplace in certain careers, it was amazing! It went a long way to help me feel less isolated, i'm not sure if it would be the same for you? I guess it's a bit tricky when you have to travel so much Smiley Sad But by the same token, maybe volunteering might be a more spaced out involvement, where you can take part when you have time? Not sure if that made sense! 

 

Thank you so much for replying!! Heart Smiley Very Happy I really hope everything's going well for you xx

 




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We're having a SLOW-MO Getting Real chat to do with Generational Differences, starting on Monday the 11th of November! Smiley Very Happy Check it out here! Heart