Friday, October 21, 2011
Coming Out Month: Thought for the Day, #40
...The experience of the closet can...lead those who stay in it, or return to it occasionally, into a Catch-22 situation. Without a doubt, maintaining secrecy about one's homosexuality allows one to elude the many manifestations of homophobia, from the seemingly harmless to the explicitly violent. But this veil of secrecy is a form of self-loathing, which only serves to exacerbate homophobic attitudes because the closeted person appears to agree that homosexuality is shameful and unmentionable. Further, the effort required to keep the closet door tightly shut may lead one to stubbornly insist on maintaining a heterosexual facade and thus adopt behaviors that are openly hostile to gays and lesbians. In these ways, the effects of homophobic oppression can be much harder on those who hide than it is on those who affirm their homosexuality.
(From "The Closet," by Philippe Mangeot, from The Dictionary of Homophobia: A Global History of Gay & Lesbian Experience, edited by Louis-Georges Tin, p. 108)