Homophobia is a negative attitude towards sexual variations and people identified or perceived as 2SLGBTQI+. It is still a scourge in the modern era despite the increasing acceptance of homosexuality and sexual variations in the last decades. Homophobia can affect mental health in several ways. It can cause people to bottle up their emotions, never seek help, and hide from society. Homophobic attitudes and practices are associated with a number of physical, mental, and/or somatic disorders in 2SLGBTQI+ people, in comparison to their heterosexual peers. Research shows that, compared to other men, gay and bisexual men have higher chances of having major depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. Moreover, internalized homophobia (IH) is defined as the inward direction of societal homophobic behaviors at the individual level and refers to the subjective psychological impact of these negative attitudes. In fact, IH is significantly associated with a high prevalence of internalizing mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, stress/trauma-related disorders, etc.
Homophobia may be recognized at institutional level (state-sponsored homophobia, social homophobia) and supported by laws or religious beliefs. Most of homophobic attitudes are based on the principle of heteronormativity according to which heterosexuality is the standard for legitimating social and sexual relationships and homosexuality is considered as an abnormal variant. Homophobia is widely sustained by religious, political, and cultural values and beliefs at individual and social levels.
It is important to note that homophobia is not only harmful to the 2SLGBTQI+ community but also to society as a whole. Homophobia can lead to a lack of diversity and inclusion, which can negatively impact the economy and social development. Therefore, it is crucial to take immediate actions to combat homophobia and its impact on mental health. Political initiatives, educational trainings, and scientific research should be promoted with a specific focus on the mental health needs of people who are targets of homophobia.
In conclusion, homophobia is a serious issue that has a significant impact on mental health. It is important to recognize the negative effects of homophobia and take immediate actions to combat it. By promoting diversity and inclusion, we can create a more accepting and supportive society that benefits everyone.