Homophobia & Heterosexism Affects GLBT Mental Health
Xiomara A. Sosa, XAS Founder
CSAT (2001) state that homophobia and heterosexism can affect GLBT people by causing internalized homophobia, shame, and a negative self-concept. Some GLBT individuals learn to devalue themselves and value only heterosexual persons instead. The negative effects of heterosexism include the following:
• Self-blame for the victimization one has suffered
• Negative self-concept as a result of negative messages about homosexuality
• Anger directed inward resulting in destructive patterns such as substance abuse
• Victim mentality or feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, and despair that interfere with leading a fulfilling life
• Self-victimization that may hinder emotional growth and development.
Beatty et al. (1999) state that a sexual minority status may cause GLBT individuals to face prejudicial attitudes, discriminatory behaviors, hatred, and verbal, emotional, or physical abuse. This discrimination can lead to loss of job and residence and rejection by family and peers. The result of living this type of existence is often immeasurable psychological stress that leads to escape with alcohol and other drugs or causes depression,, among other maladaptie behaviors such as overworking at the expense of personal relationships.
(Substance Abuse Counseling: Theory and Practice, 4/e for Laureate Education, 4th Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions pp. 315 – 316).