It’s incredible how much psychological damage can result from keeping your sexuality secret and not expressing who you really are. This is called having a ‘concealable stigma’ and the emotional problems from this can be horrendous! When you’re a teenager and learning about life and love, the impact can be particularly isolating. Recent research has shed some light on one way to overcome this.
Research suggests that “Involvement in a same-sex relationship boosted self-esteem in teen males and lowered internalised homophobia in teen females who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual.” It added that for males, the relationship needed to endure for a while. Internalised homophobia sounds like an overly invasive douche, but it is actually the way that GLBT people absorb homophobic beliefs which causes deep feelings of worthlessness. This can lead to all sorts of negative issues including depression and suicide in the more extreme cases. When someone is in a healthy relationship for the first time, they experience romantic love which often repairs some of the damage done by internalised homophobia. It can also very difficult to hold on to the notion that you are worthless when somebody you love feels so strongly for you.
One of the problems when growing up being same sex attracted is that everyone else around you is in the straight dating scene and you can feel excluded, isolated and defective. So when young GLBTI people start dating they can start to feel like they are participating more in life rather than merely being an observer.
Whilst it is important in life to experience what it’s like to be single and happy, it’s also quite healing to experience a healthy romantic relationship at some stage. We’ve all been hard-wired to love, and when we fully experience this and commit to someone, the impact can be simply fabulous!

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