Focusing on homophobia I have to say that I have had my share of it. Yet the one thing I'm ashamed of while growing up is that I use to be part of that homophobia mixture, which to some may seem silly as some may wonder how can someone gay be homophobic.
For me it was part of the repressed feeling I experienced through my growing years. It first came from my mother when she told me that, "If you ever turn out to be gay, I'll kill you" those words had such an effect on me that I transformed myself into what she wanted me to be.
From the way I stood, to the way I talked and making sure my words were manly.I stayed away from expressing my love of musicals or anything that would identify me as gay.
The repression continued in high school as I wore a mask of protection as I was scared that if my peers knew that I was gay, then there would be repercussions. I found myself following the rules on what society identified as what men are supposed to do as opposed to women. I was trapped inside my skin.
The best way to visualize it is if you take a soda bottle and shake it, yet not letting the top off, you have all this built up pressure or hurt that has nowhere to go.
In that process of not being able to be who I wanted to be which was to be a man able to express my sexuality, I started to resent those who were gay and could freely express themselves. It was a resentment that made me look at those who expressed their sexuality in public with distaste.
The worst time was during gay pride celebrations. Here it was men and women celebrating their being and here I was on the side of the anti-group feeling that expression of self should be a private matter.
I remember being with some of my straight friends and they were once talking about a guy walking by. Yelling out faggot and such, and to my surprise I was joining the chorus of hate. And by joining in I figured the guys I hung with wouldn't think I was gay as I followed their actions. I had morphed myself into thinking I was a straight man.
I finally had to look in the mirror and see the hypocrite I had made myself out to be or could I blame it on my upbringing and the rules that society placed on me.
Back then I was into daily affirmations and I came across one that connected with me. It simply stated, 'hurt people, hurt people.' Immediately I knew what it meant. It was talking to me as I was that hurt person. I was that shaken coke bottle that had no release for all the hate that I experienced. I was the hurt person because I was everything but myself. From the words of my mother which was said to me at the age of ten to my mid twenties, I was living someone else life. Even during that period of being diagnosed with HIV I still couldn't share the hurt I was going through. So i hurt others through my actions and words but never my fist.
I make no excuses for those who hurt people physically because of their sexuality, but I bet you those people come from a place of being hurt themselves. Although their situation may be different from mine, the hurt we had was in common.
I had to learn to uncap that bottle and release all that built up hurt. That was the only way I could grow out of the hurt and grow my way into loving myself. I had to start living my life no matter what people thought. I had to stop auditioning for people's affection and attention.
Loving myself put me in a better place. Some people accused me of being cocky but it was never that as I never saw myself above others. But also I was no longer going to let others dictate my life. I was no longer going to hurt myself or others.
I still see forms of self-hating and the gay community is not exempt. Sometimes we direct our hurt to each other. We sometimes call it 'giving shade' or we treat each other not as a unity under the rainbow flag but sometimes as disunity.
When I see us treat each other that way, it's not pity but a reflection of what i used to endure.