Combating internalized homophobia: protective factors and their effectiveness
internalized homophobia, prevention
Internalized homophobia is an adverse consequence that emerges in societies characterized by heteronormativity. Individuals – both sexual minorities and heterosexuals – who are exposed to heterosexual norms as well as unfavourable portrayals of sexual minorities may internalize, or take in, these negative depictions. Deviations from the heterosexual norm may be perceived as ‘unnatural,’ ‘unacceptable,’ or ‘repugnant’ by sexual minorities and heterosexuals alike, and some of these views may be completely unconscious. Sexual minorities are at heightened risk of experiencing various psychological, behavioural, and social distress due to internalized homophobia, whether it is directed at the self or others. Therefore, it is crucial to uncover various factors that protect against internalizing deleterious views of sexual minorities. To this end, the present study investigated four plausible protective factors: self-esteem, social network quality, education level, and degree of exposure to positive portrayals of sexual minorities. The participants included MacEwan University students, as well as recruited sexual minority participants in an attempt to obtain a representative sample. Each participant’s level of internalized homophobia was assessed, and the results were compared to each of the four variables to determine whether any of them had a beneficial impact on preventing the development of internalized homophobia. The current study’s primary objectives are to identify factors that could help those suffering from the adverse effects of internalized homophobia and thereby improve the overall well-being of sexual minorities.
Presented on April 20, 2023 at Student Research Day held at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta.
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