Dear Lipstick & Dipstick: My buddy “Karen” is a sweet and loving friend to me and the whole gang we run around with, but unfortunately, even though she looks like a bulldyke, she is the most inner-homophobic person I know because of her Christian upbringing. How can we help our friend accept herself? —Secular in San Jose
Dipstick: My guess is Karen enjoys feeling bad about herself and she feeds on the sympathy you give her. I just did a quick search on gaychurch.org and found 637 gay-friendly churches in California, 19 Christian ones in San Jose. So feeling bad about being gay because of religion just doesn’t cut it anymore. Times have changed. Everybody knows that Jesus was a radical and if he were alive today he would hang out with the drag queens, butches and peace activists. Tell your friend to check out a gay-friendly church and get over her victim complex.
Lipstick: Oh Dip, you need a vacation — all that pent up energy is making you narrow-minded and insensitive. Internalized homophobia lives in all of us, even you. It’s one of those things that creeps up on us when we’re least expecting it, too, like a yeast infection or an extra ten pounds.
Dipstick: Or a broken crankshaft.
Lipstick: A broken what?
Dipstick: It’s in your engine.
Lipstick: [shaking her head] Internalized homophobia manifests in many different ways. It could be the reason you haven’t come out of the closet: you’re ashamed and think it will hurt your relationships and/or career. It could be why you avoid Gay Pride or why you don’t want to have kids. Regardless of how it rears its ugly head, internalized homophobia grows from unresolved issues, those that were conceived at church, the dinner table or on the evening news. How to get rid of them? Get under the root of those prejudices (especially ones about yourself) and unearth them. There’s nothing wrong with being gay — just ask a pastor at one of the queer-friendly churches Dip recommended.