How to Combat Homophobia and Heterosexism

  • Attend workshops on homophobia, heterosexism and transgender issues
  • Read books, see films and attend special events focused on 2SLGBTQ+ issues
  • Talk with lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender friends, relatives, co-workers or fellow students about their experience
  • Learn about 2SLGBTQ+ people who have made significant contributions to society
  • I can recognize my own homophobic/heterosexist biases
  • Identify ways in which homophobia affects the way I live (e.g. my dress, the friends I choose, my mannerisms, or my behaviour)
  • Confront the expectations and beliefs I have about gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals
  • Don’t assume that all my friends, classmates, or co-workers are heterosexual.
  • I can address homophobic behaviour around me
  • Make it known that homophobic innuendos, jokes, and teasing are offensive and unacceptable to me
  • Work with others to develop guidelines in my residence or workplace that will treat homophobic interactions as unacceptable
  • Use inclusive language
  • In classroom or in casual discussion, encourage inclusion of diversity/difference
  • Be a supportive ally for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members of the Vancouver Island University community
  • If I am gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, be as “out” as I can safely and comfortably be

How Homophobic Myths Affect 2SLGBTQ+ and Heterosexual Youth

2SLGBTQ+ (Queer) Heterosexual (Straight)

Low self-esteem contributes to feelings of loneliness, isolation, worthlessness, fear, and suicidal thoughts

Lack of accurate, reliable, truthful information perpetuates negative stereotypes and myths

Internalized homophobia, hate themselves as they perceive the world hates them; think they have no rights; limits full learning potential

Denial of personal experience that they may know people who are 2SLGBTQ+

Often forced to leave home, and become “at risk” street kids (40% of street youth in Vancouver self-identify a 2SLGBTQ+

Lack of support for same-gender friends and family members (such as parents, siblings)

Victims of intolerance, harassment, threats and violence

Strict gender role stereotypes; pressure on kids about how to look, dress and behave; no allowance for individuality

Drop out of school – 28% of 2SLGBTQ+ students do not graduate, may become victims of poverty

Kids perceived to be 2SLGBTQ+ are harassed, victimized and beaten, often within schools

Carry out risky behavior – alcohol and drug abuse, homelessness, unsafe sex, infections with STI’s, and suicidal

97% of all students have experienced homophobic name calling by grade 8

Completed suicides – 30% of all youth suicides

Fear and hatred is taught by silence on the issue – learned bigotry can lead to gay bashing

Did you Know?

Living as a Transman - even before there was such a concept

Jack Bee Garland (1869-1936) was born Elvira Virginia Mugarrieta in San Francisco.  He lived his adult life as a male, enjoying the freedom of travel and job opportunities. He was a transgender author, nurse and adventurer.

He is best known for accompanying United States Armed Forces to the Philippines in 1899 and the subsequent publishing of “My Life as a Soldier”, in the San Francisco Examiner magazine.  Although he never enlisted nor fought, he marketed the story as a woman soldier in the Philippines.

While he used a number of aliases during his life after the Philippines he lived as Jack Bee Garland for the rest of his life and devoted himself to social work with the American Red Cross and other charitable organizations.