Most of the dead, injured and uninjured in the Orlando club were LGBT, many proudly so. However, the suffering of a number of survivors, we are now discovering, is compounded by more homophobia, this time within the LGBT community. Some in the Pulse crowd were not out to their families because of their own ‘internal homophobia’—afraid to tell their families out of fear of rejection; inhibited by shame and fear, they hid—and still hide—their true sexual orientation.
As a result some are suffering in secret because a loved one, friend or partner, died or nearly so and they are afraid to come out about their grief. Suffering is bad enough; suffering in silence is worse.
This internal homophobia—fear and inhibition—is a visceral disease of deep pain and anguish. How can you not tell your own family of your wrenching loss; how can you hide the death of your lover? How can you hide a broken heart in a time of crisis?
So powerfully has hetero society told us for generations, for millennia to be ashamed of being gay that it gnaws at our guts and crushes our spirits and makes us hide—unless it is healed. Times are now changing and countless LGBT people are fully out and proud and marching in the streets. But some in Orlando and beyond are suffering from their homophobia magnified by the massacre. This is no small disease with small consequence; it leads to hiding, duplicity, dishonesty, fear, anguish and sometimes suicide—all toxic to the human soul. But it can be eased, by speaking our truth and sharing our grief. Tell Mom the whole truth.