More members of the LGBTQI+ community are getting courageous and comfortable with coming out to their families, friends and to the public. However, homophobia is one thing which gay people continue to experience in their daily lives. First-year education student, Banele Shezi, faces homophobia on a daily basis as a gay content creator. Banele, who recently came out as gay to the public on his social media platforms, has since then experienced
homophobia especially as a content creator. “I love making TikTok videos and there’s always a bunch of homophobes that write homophobic slurs under my videos”, said Banele when asked about his experience on homophobia. Banele, before officially coming out to his family, educated his family members after he would hear them make homophobic slurs when they saw gay content on television. He did this so that when he comes out, at least his family would be more receptive towards gay people. When asked what his family’s reaction was after he publicly came out, he said: “When I went back home for recess, my cousin brother didn’t want to share a bed with me because of my coming out video that he saw”. Banele said that even though he continues to experience homophobia, he is not in any
way shaken. He states that he knows there are far more people that love him just as he is than those that do not like him or mistreat him because of his sexuality. The same cannot be said about Sipho Mabuza, a second-year psychology student, who has since coming out about his sexuality suffered anxiety and low self-esteem issues because of the homophobia he faces. “I deleted my social media accounts because I couldn’t bear the homophobic slurs I got each time I posted a picture on my social media accounts as a feminine gay person”, said Sipho. However, Sipho is getting professional help to deal with his anxiety issues and hopes to one day not have a care in the world about what anyone has to say about his sexuality. “I am also aware of the internalised homophobia I now have due to the homophobia I had and continue to experience, and I am also dealing with that”, said Sipho. Homophobia can be detrimental to one’s psychological health, especially anyone that identifies as part of the LGBTQI+ community.
Homophobia has evolved throughout the years but it continues to have a negative impact on the lives of those who are the unfortunate targets of abhorrence, prejudice, and violence. Homophobia stems from ignorance and a lack
of education and is perpetuated by fear of the unfamiliar and religious beliefs. Therefore, it is vital that everyone gets educated on everything that has to do with same-gender relationships (homosexuality) and other several types of
sexualities. This could eradicate the homophobia that people have. There are a lot of signs of homophobia but here are a few: If you are a straight man and compliment other men while ending your compliment with the phrase “no
homo”, if you use derogatory terms like “moffie” or “stabane” to refer to a gay person, and if you choose to not speak out against homophobia, indirectly contributing to the problem. As a result of living in a homophobic society, one can be influenced to have internalised homophobia. Internalised homophobia is when one has homophobia that is directed inwardly at themselves. This type of homophobia is self-destructive as it makes one not be able to fully explore their sexuality and can make one not want to accept themselves as they are and to live their truth. In some instances, people never come out mainly because of the internalised homophobia that they have. It is important that
each and everyone strives to educate themselves so that they change their behaviour towards members of the LGBTQI+ community. Someone liking and being sexually involved with the same gender does not take anything away from anyone that likes the opposite gender. Homophobia is, to say the least, senseless. Do better. Guard your