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Homophobic Friends

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I was having a conversation with a couple of friends and at one point in the conversation I spoke positively about a famous homosexual couple and I got attacked with comments like, "you can't say that about a couple of the same gender, it's just wrong". That was nothing compared to the other comments they made about homosexuals and how it's a "choice" for them to be who they are. Also, the topic of adopting kids by gay couples came up, saying it's not fair for the children to have parents of the same gender and that the whole thing is unfitting. The conversation was basically pretty homophobic and I was surprised to see my friends capable of such hate. They of course have no idea I'm gay and it's very hard to defend that when you're trying to make it as less suspicious as possible.

How do you build tolerance to homophobic behaviour, especially when it's coming from people you consider your friends?

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  • 25-34_f_w_h3_f2
    Advice

    I wish I can tell you not to tolerate it and to talk some sense into them, without coming out, but this then turns into an issue of security depending on who you are dealing with. They would have their doubts and be more hurtful to you. There were many times in my life that I couldn't remain silent out of fear and had to join the bashing just so my heart could start beating again. I would say that you need to distance yourself from this kind of hate and surround yourself with others that have a better understanding, but I know they're your friends and this is easier said than done. I hope that somehow you can find a secure way to influence their opinion of this. It's a hard position to be in but something we can all relate to.

    • 17-24_f_w_h3_f2
      Comment

      Thanks Reem, this helps. I always try to find a way to have a positive impact on them but they're just too ignorant, they refuse to tolerate it. And I don't think they'll ever understand. For example, if I ever came out to them (which I never will), they would never accept me.

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  • I used to preach about this to so many people. Many of them happen to be my old friends. It got to a point where they used to just call me “fag lover” or just “fag”. Apparently, talking against homophobia makes me a homosexual. I just never understood this kind of logic. Long story short, let’s just say that I no longer have many friends.

    After 10 years of preaching against racism, homophobia, sexism and all that is unholy; it’s next to impossible to educate most of their ignorance ones they reach a certain age. Tolerance has to be taught from a young age, ones they are older it takes a monumental effort to make them understand.

    Only hope is educating the newer generation and hope that all these isms just get washed away little by little every generation.

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  • 17-24_f_w_h2_f1
    Advice

    It seems unfair that you have to build tolerance towards their behaviour when they won't extend the same courtesy to you. But then we have to practice what we preach yea?

    At the most, don't talk about anything related to homosexuality with them and if they start then make up a convincing excuse and leave.

    • 17-24_f_w_h3_f2
      Comment

      You're right. I came across another conversation today where another friend said "what has the world come to?" to comment on a story she was telling me about a gay couple having a surrogate son. I chose to ignore that and changed the subject.

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    • 17-24_f_w_h2_f1
      Comment

      Not the first and definitely not the last time such a comment will be made. I don't get it. How can two people loving each other and starting a family be the one thing that brings the world down in front of their eyes?

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    • 17-24_f_b_h2_f4
      Comment

      We can say it's because they don't know any better. But that's no excuse for hate. Truth is, homosexuality is such a deeply rooted taboo in the Middle East that it is normal for people to consider such a lifestyle disgusting and unholy. To think otherwise is what is abnormal and to be avoided. We can hope, but I doubt there will ever be any change.

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    • 25-34_m_w_h4_f4
      Comment

      It's a bit sad to admit but I'm just as pessimistic. I'm approaching my 30s now so I know surely that there will never be a big enough change in my lifetime. I do hope at least that we see some changes in policies perhaps, where homosexuality is decriminalized. I try my best to remain hopeful.

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    • 17-24_f_w_h2_f1
      Comment

      Well, to change the law we need to change the people first. I hope that people in the Middle East are more knowledgeable about homosexuality, for it'll be knowledge that will help build tolerance.

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    • Default-avatar
      Comment

      Well, some scholars believe that homosexuality mas more tolerated in the Arab World until relatively recent times. However, you must not despair, Samir. I live in Spain, where homosexuality was illegal and considered inmoral by most of the population until 1978 (just 33 years ago, more or less) when it was decriminalized. And look at it now: LGBT people can marry, have civil unions, adopt, discrimination against them is forbidden by the law, they can serve in the military. And all of this in just thirty years. So, don´t you worry, you never know the changes you are going to see a few years from now on.

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  • 17-24_f_b_h1_f2
    Experience

    my family being very religious, i experience homophobia every day. there is nothing i can do about it because i already tried for many years to have an impact on their opinions and it did not work. they turned me off religion for good and now i feel that religious propaganda is one of the biggest reasons behind homophobia. people need to stop allowing religion to make all their decisions for them specially if they are aware of how moronic and illogical it is.

    • 17-24_f_w_h3_f2
      Comment

      skyflake, I totally understand that regarding religion and know many people who feel the same way. In my case, I have always kept my religion to myself. How I see it is that I believe that every person has their own way of practicing it, that's why I never judge.

      When it comes to homophobia, some people argue that it has nothing to do with religion, but with how well a person is educated. Though I do feel educating others and opening discussions about the matter helps people be more open-minded, tolerant, and etc, but also feel that religion plays a big role in homophobia as well.

      There's also the fact that there has been a long history of negative stereotypes concerning homosexuals. A very common stereotype about gays is that they're perverts or that they are so sexually promiscuous and have out-of-control lifestyles.

      But anyway, like you said, I also find religious propaganda to be one of the reasons behind homophobia. And totally agree that people need to start thinking on their own rather than letting their "religion" speak on their behalf. It's about time they realize how absurd and idiotic they sound.

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    • 17-24_f_b_h1_f2
      Comment

      i am not religious at all but what is quite insane to me is how equally unreligious people, those who drink, have premarital sex, and do things their religion would forbid them to do, are somehow using religion to justify their own homophobia. it's this hypocrisy that makes no sense to me. such people are so ready to sit there and judge without taking a good look at themselves and how little respect they have for their own religion, and then dare to point fingers at us. so many people are like this. i've seen adulterers dismissed while homosexuals are still stigmatized and abused by society, even though we clearly do not pose a threat to anyone. seriously can people here get any lamer than this?

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  • If you have homophobic friends, educate them. Don't let them get away with their homophobic comments and even if you are not ready to come out to them, don't feed it by ignoring them or changing the subject. If you just sit there and allow them to offend you, you're giving them reasons to continue, and you're allowing them to disrespect you and your opinions. If they can't handle that it may not be worth the pain of maintaining a friendship that does more harm than good.

    • 17-24_f_w_h3_f2
      Comment

      I understand that, but in my case, I don't think the level of homophobia is that extreme to have to come down to that. Though I always try to educate them, we even have discussions about it, civil ones. But like I said, it's just that it's hard to balance that when I'm trying to make it as less suspicious as possible.

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  • 25-34_f_w_h3_f3
    Comment

    Instead of friends; how do you deal with an homophobic sister? As most of you already know; I have recently came out to her. In the beginning she was open-minded (or so I thought), but now it seems our relationship has changed. She's one of those who say that being gay is a choice. Like drugaddicts and alcoholics. When I answered with: I was created this way by God. Ever since I remember. How can a child decide to be an drugaddict or an alcoholic? It doesn't make sense. She replied with: What are you saying; God can't create..you know...."wispers"...uhm..lesbians..and gays?! So I told her: God can create the deaf; the blind; He can create cancer and newborns with two heads or no legs...but ooooh noooo....He can't create lesbians....nooo..noo..not that! Even He says..He is the creater of ALL. But, that didn't seem to change her mind. It seems like I belong with the group of drugaddicts in her eyes. So, I'm tired...I'm not going to let her get to me. I'm just hurt, cause all my life I've been there for her. This one time..only this one time I ask her to be there for me...and she *literally* hangs op on me! Sigh.

    • 12-16_f_b_h1_f2
      Advice

      I'm sorry to hear about your sister's reaction. I'm sure her logic is flawed even to her own years but she just won't admit it. Don't waste any more time on her, there's nothing you can say or do- not like you should even have to. This really is her loss and it's sad because she's letting irrational fear get in the way of her relationship with you.I don't think there's anything I can say that will ease your pain but you seem like a strong person and you'll get through this! And you'll be even stronger. There are many homophobes in this world and we just have to learn to brush them off and move on.

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    • 25-34_f_w_h3_f3
      Comment

      Yeah; guess it's her loss indeed! I guess nothing can ease my pain, but telling me that I'll get through this...sounds like music to my ears. It's a tough spot to be; feeling stuck. But, at least there are people here who are not going to "hung up" on me when my feelings decides to speak. It's just hard to brush off family. Aren't they the ones who suppose to stand next to you and help you go through whatever? Instead; they drop you like a bucker filled with stones. I just wanted her to know who I am. To know me for who I am. No secrets. That's it. Seems like trust and truth are undervalued these days. The only thing that works nowadays is lying, cheating, deceiving and being selfish. Oh no..don't get me wrong. I will never degrade myself to such a level. It's just the world we live in. Sadly. But, no worries! There are still honest, trustworthy and loving people in this earth. :D

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    • 25-34_f_w_h3_f2
      Comment

      I like reading about your experiences Vicci :)

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    • 17-24_m_w_h3_f1
      Comment

      I second that.

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    • 25-34_f_w_h3_f3
      Comment

      Thanks Reem and Amadeus! Very sweet of you to say ;)

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    • 17-24_m_w_h3_f1
      Comment

      This is a little bit funny and off-topic; I've received a notification on my inbox that someone has commented on your "Homophobic Friends on Ahwaa" comment. I said! No! Ahwaa doesn't have any homophobic friends! LOL

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    • 17-24_f_w_h3_f2
      Comment

      Haha, my bad! I'll make sure not to set the title to Bullying on my next topic.

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    • 25-34_f_w_h3_f3
      Comment

      :D Haha! Next topic: "Party on Ahwaa".

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    • 17-24_f_w_h2_f1
      Comment

      This is too funny!

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  • i completely agree about homophobic ppl being insecure about their own sexuality because i witnessed it first had , all my three years in middle school i was extremely bullied by many but this one guys was especially brutal and in more that one occasion it got to a physical point and on my first year of high school low and behold he's trying to convince me to sleep with him , needles to say i was infuriated not by the idea of what he was asking for "which was done in a disgusting way btw" but by the fact that the one person who has been tormenting me for a certain reason all those years is actually the same , how frakin hypocritical and just AGH ! seriously infuriating ...

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  • 17-24_m_w_h1_f4
    Advice

    Personally I am facing this and I noticed that if you kick out religion from the argument and talked only by logical terms some people may understand you, I tried this with a few friends but with some of them they already know that I'm an atheist so they can understand more where my point of view comes from. To admit though many people will raise arguments like homosexuality is harmful to the person committing it yet it shouldn't be done, but after shedding some light on the biological nature of homosexuality, people either tend to either finally agree with me Or claim that not all what science says is true!!!

    • 17-24_f_w_h3_f2
      Experience

      I tried that with my homophobic friend once because she kept arguing with me through religion and giving me reasons to how everything leads to homosexuality being a sin. So a way to reason with her, I told her to leave religion out of the discussion. She went with the classic, "homosexuality is biologically wrong". After that, she immediately went back to how God designed this to work in a specific biological way.

      Shows that some people don't have much to argue about when they don't have their extreme religious "facts" to "back them up". Also, when religion is out, some are still not open-minded enough to accept new thoughts and possibly change their views.. Especially when there's no will to understand the other side anyway.

      I think we need to learn how to tolerate homophobes, not the other way around.

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    • 17-24_m_w_h1_f4
      Comment

      the thing is atypical phobia is the irrational fear of something and the bases of the fear is mainly religion and culture what they don't know though is that they're argument is a fallacy most if all scientific documents (which undergo very heavy criticism from the science community) on homosexuality show that it's natural, in fact it occurs in many animals in the animal kingdom!!, so why consider it "biologically wrong" or "unnatural" ?

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  • 17-24_m_b_h2_f4
    Experience

    i say what i believe in without thinking twice , sometimes in class the topic of "homosexuality" just comes up ,and every rat comes out of it's hole trying to out-dumb all the others , i always start with the "who do u think u r ?" and go on abt equality and they r just the same as u and u better treat ppl the same way u want them to treat u and all , and if u don't want to come out just yet , tell them that ur trying to be neutral and stand the same distance from all points , it worked sometimes , made ppl go loud some other times , but eventually if ur talking with confidence , they return to their holes and just shut up cuz they r mostly afraid of strong,liberal and free minded persons .
    oh and it always helps to throw some punch lines like "libraleya ya3ny ragel yetgawez ragel ya barad3y" and "howa ento 3'ayranin menhom wala 7aga ?" etc .

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  • 17-24_m_w_h3_f3
    Comment

    Your friends are actually cool with it compared to my friends lol, My friends say they would kill a homosexual if they ever see one! There were news about a gay pride or something here in egypt in tahrir square and I heard comments like "I'll go there and burn every single one of those queers"! I've been used to hearing such comments so I just shrug it off.

    I just admire how religion encourages people to hate more than to love. :)

    • You should replace your friends then, they sound like the stupid thugs I used to hang out with in high school. In the future they might pose a physical threat to you if they find out about who you really are.

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  • 17-24_m_b_h2_f4
    Comment

    well i 'liked' that page abt the parade on facebook and some of them at college approached me with this skeptical look and started to go around the subject , trrying to pick up hints i guess , but i made it very clear that if they r going to go "religious egyptian" they better go do it somewhere else XDD

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  • 17-24_f_b_h3_f4
    Experience

    A few years back, I wasn't involved with the LGBT community, and I wasn't ever against it, but I wasn't exactly involved in it. I was neutral, and frankly, I didn't care about it. I had a friend who was extremely homophobic, and she was a very religious Christian. Let us just say her name is Cynthia (that is not her real name, I am going to keep her anonymous). I didn't mind her ranting about how opposed she was of gay rights. At the time, I had another friend named Henry (also not his real name), and he was really great. He was a year younger than me, and had incredible taste in music. One night, we were on a rooftop at this abandoned building, and we were listening to my favorite band, and he told me to come to the edge of the building. I did, and we were talking about life, and then he started crying out of nowhere. And, then he said, "I need to tell you something", and he wouldn't stop crying. And, then he said, "I'm gay, I'm really gay". I comforted him the entire night, and devoted all that I had to protect him, and all the others like him. And, then one day at an assembly in school, he was giving a speech on equality, and at the end of the speech, he said, and I quote, "I need you all to know that I'm gay, so completely gay", he smiled, and then walked off the stage. I stood on top of my chair, screaming his name, and clapping like an idiot. I was so completely happy that he had the confidence to do that in front of our entire high school. After the speech, many people came up to him, admiring how he came out of the closet. I was right next to him, while he was receiving all the compliments. But, then, Cynthia came up to both of us, and was telling him how the way he came out was really ridiculous and that he was just trying to receive attention, and that she wanted to cut off all communications with the both of us, because he was Gay, and I was supporting him. And, then I calmly gave her a speech about how wrong it was to say that to someone who was protecting himself from people like you. As I lectured her, she didn't say anything back, but I could tell she was really listening to me. After I finished, she just nodded her head, and walked away from both of us.

    A year later, Cynthia went to prom with a bi sexual atheist.

    I sometimes wonder if that speech I gave her changed the way she thought. Whatever happened to her, I'm really glad that she is the way she is now. And, she also walked in this year's Gay Pride parade.

    There is hope for everyone.

    • Default-avatar
      Anonymous
      Comment

      Sometimes all it takes is one personal experience to change it all. A friend, a sibling, someone they care about, to drive some sense into them. This is why it's important that we don't feign homophobia to our families but instead educate them about it.

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  • 17-24_f_w_h3_f2
    Comment

    I know exactly what you're going through my closest college friends who seemed to me at first open minded are first class homophobics I can't even write what they said about homosexuals I felt like I hate them so much and I was expecting that one day I'll come out to them maybe they aren't the right friends for me I wish I could find other group that is more open minded

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  • I was thinking the same as Anonymous above, like do you think your friends would eventually change their minds when they learned that you were gay? I for one used to be pretty homophobic before I was out to myself and then it just took a few friends coming out to me for me to see that my homophobia was unacceptable...and also for me to realize i like ladiez lol

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  • I believe the older generations may never change, but if we focus on a youthful audience we can have a better impact. To me it's expected when parents or other old extended family members are homophobic because this is what they were taught to believe all their life. In this generation though we have more room for dialogue, we are exposed to more sources of information, and can really be heard and offer a compelling case against homophobia to win respect, understanding and tolerance from the younger generations. This is my recommendation in dealing with homophobia.

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  • 25-34_f_b_h2_f3
    Comment

    Everyone who has their own doubts about themselves, anyone who knows something about themselves that others would call "disgusting" such as curiosity about homosexuality for example, try as much as possible to justify this disgust through an opposite extreme, by publicly showing that they are homophobic for example. I used to be this way I promise you... it is GOOD to show homophobia, because it shows that if it switches, it will switch to the other good extreme and will turn to high tolerance. Yeah not everyone's like me bla bla bla.. but I noticed and many others agree as well, that people who think in extreme ways about one thing will always have an extreme way of thinking of the opposite issue. Does that make sense? the line between love and hate is thin... but there is no decipherable line between indifference and love... and sometimes indifference and hate can numbly co-exist.

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  • 25-34_f_w_h3_f2
    Comment

    Naima, I agree, and ironically many of the people who publicly show hatred and homophobia are deeply insecure about their own sexuality and use this as a method of denial. I've witnessed this with quite a few people in the past, it's a common pattern.

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  • 17-24_f_w_h2_f1
    Comment

    Wow. What a story! I applaud your friend too. That took some guts. Cynthia makes me think about the people in my life, those nearest to me that I have to be closeted from because of their beliefs. I think about what good people they are and wonder if I'm foolish to have hope in the fact that they can't hate someone they love like that, that there is a chance that by knowing that I'm gay and loving me they can learn to accept me. I do believe that one person at a time, we can change the way people think.

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  • Thank you!
    And, I agree many of have many "Cynthias" in our life.
    We most definitely can change anything, it will take work, but it is not even close to being impossible for a free world for you and I, and everyone else that makes this place.

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  • 17-24_m_w_h3_f3
    Comment

    Needless to say, beautiful story. :D But it also made me think how close we are to solving homophobia in the arab world yet we cant because we're too scared. People hate gay people because they've heard that they're bad people, they have been told to hate them their entire life but they didnt see them, they didnt deal with the good people. I'm guessing that part of your speech you gave to cynthia had to do with how henry is a good person and you cant judge him by his sexuality which made cynthia think. As long as we're in the dark this prejudice will never change.

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