Sunday 22nd March 2009 – The Independent Newspaper:
“Michael Causer's only crime was to be openly gay. For this the trainee hairdresser was dragged from his bed last July and viciously beaten. His piercings were forcibly removed with a knife, according to some witnesses. He died nine days later in hospital from brain injuries. “
The above is one example of violent physical homophobic abuse, in that case the murderer was caught and punished. However, homophobic behaviour did not become a crime until recently and is, thankfully, less brutal than the awful attack on Mr Causer. Homophobic behaviour can be obvious or subtle. Often those who are homophobic are unaware themselves that they are. This is true of almost all prejudice – we may believe that we are not prejudiced but subconsciously we act out those prejudiced attitudes by perhaps selecting the young heterosexual or white individual for promotion over his or her gay or coloured peer, by using terms of speech so that stereotypes are re-enforced or by making enquiries about the lifestyles of others in an intrusive manner.
It may be that you are gay, lesbian or bi-sexual and have suffered either direct or indirect homophobic behaviour and need support in how to deal with issues that arise for you in those situations. For example, in many occupations it is still difficult for individuals to acknowledge their sexual orientation and so choose not to reveal personal information about themselves to others. Such a choice usually results in difficulties that then often have to be dealt with by the individual in isolation. Counselling and psychotherapy can support and assist such individuals through their personal journey. The approach taken is not directive and is not judgemental in any way but is supportive and empowering so that the individual concerned will be able to identify the strengths and tools that he or she has available within his or her self to move forward in the way that they want.
Gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals may also have internalised homophobia issues – these are often identified during the course of therapy. Once identified and worked on individuals are able to process the issues identified and move on. In many cases the results are greater satisfaction from relationships and greater involvement and enjoyment of their career and life.