Keeping It a Secret: Why Many LGBTQ+ Members Hide Their True Self

These days, more members of the LGBTQ+ community are opening up in public. They no longer wish to hide their true self. This is evident in the increased number of Pride events here and abroad.

Why Many LGBTQ+Members Are Unhappy

Despite the open-mindedness of today’s society, many members of the LGBTQ+ are still hiding in their closets. They find it hard to act their true self for fear of discrimination from strangers and even their own loved ones. They feel obliged to hide their true self for the sake of their safety, reputation, even their families’ happiness.

In the UK, for instance, a study shows that LGBTQ+ members are less satisfied with their lives compared to the rest of UK respondents. Those who experienced violence said they did not report the incident thinking such a situation happens all the time. Some even attempted to “treat” themselves through reparative or conversion therapies.

Damaging processes like gay–to-straight conversion therapies are banned in many countries. But this is not enough to encourage all members to come out of their closets. They find that their life will be much more difficult if they attempt to let their true self out.

Challenges LGBTQ+Members Face Daily

LGBTQ+ members face numerous challenges after committing to their true selves. This is even with the growing number of LGBTQ+ communities in and out of campuses and the country. Even as new members find happiness in letting their true selves out, they face new problems like never before.

Finding True Love

For one, many find dating to be much more complicated than when they were dating the opposite sex. Finding love is difficult enough for heterosexual individuals. It sometimes becomes a lot more intricate when you’re gay, bisexual, or the like.

This is one reason why more gay individuals are turning to LGBTQ+ professional matchmakers. They find that regular blind dates, dating sites, and apps are not working in their favor. This way, they get to find the best match depending on their preferences, beliefs, and lifestyle.

Coming Out at Work

While some gay individuals have already made their true selves visible to close friends and family members, many are indecisive about coming out of their workplace. Some feel like their position and promotion can be at risk by opening up their sexuality. They feel like their workmates or clients will no longer be comfortable working with them.

Study shows that more than 8 million US workers from the LGBT+ community experience harassment and employment discrimination. This impacts one’s ability to stay productive, enjoy job satisfaction, and reduce job commitment. This is despite the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Mental Health Issues

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It is no secret that many LGBTQ+ members face bullying and family acceptance issues. These reasons, along with other challenges, are putting their physical and mental health at risk. Because of these reasons, many LGBTQ+ community members are plagued with anxiety, depression, and stress.

A 2018 report shows very high stress rates among LGBT youth. Only 26% of respondents feel safe at school. Up to 95% have trouble sleeping at night, while 77% feel depressed.

Many LGBTQ youths also have low self-esteem. Many easily get affected by the things their loved ones and other people have to say about their sexuality. Fear and anti-LGBTQ messages also play a huge role in their feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.

Substance misuse, alcohol abuse, and eating disorders are also common in LGBTQ youth. They found vices to be the best way to cope with their negative feelings. The same goes for individuals who control their eating behaviors as a way to regain control over their life.

Internalized Homophobia

This refers to one’s unwillingness to acknowledge their sexual orientation. They believe that they shouldn’t like anyone except their opposite sex. Such social stigma often results in self-hatred.

People who experience internalized homophobia can experience:

  • Feeling ashamed about their sexual orientation
  • Unwillingness to acknowledge their own sexual orientation
  • Fear of others labeling them as gay
  • Disliking other members of the LGBTQ+ community

Internalized homophobia can impact one’s life in many ways. For one, it can affect how one relates to others. It can increase their stress levels, which can lead to physical and mental health complications. This also forces individuals to conceal their sexuality.

These are but a few issues many members of the LGBTQ+ community have to deal with each day. It does not matter if they already went out of the closet or chose to live a private life. It is time that everyone starts recognizing and respecting everyone’s feelings. Know that whether you are straight or gay, your feelings are valid. Seeking help and having a solid support system can improve your quality of life.

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