LGBTQ+: The Mental Effects of Not Being Accepted

In the Closet

A picture of highschool-me, proving my masculinity and athleticism with my bronze track & field medal. The next day I wore green skinny jeans and a multi-color cardigan while meeting my friends at the mall.

When it came to the word “gay”, my neighborhood was pretty conservative. I grew up in Catholic schools, and not much was discussed about the topic of homosexuality. All I was ever told by my ever-accepting teachers was that it was okay nowadays to be gay; the person just couldn’t act on it. Then it would be a sin. Being thirteen years old and discovering online pornography for the first time, I had no idea how to come out of my teens without causing myself eternal damnation.

I separated myself from homosexuality as far as I could when I got to high school. I was tired of feeling different than everyone else and I just wanted to belong. I walked with my legs farther apart, and I made sure I didn’t talk with limp wrists. I agreed when people when they said math class was gay, or that someone else was a “fag”.

The closet was killing my spirit. But it was either keep up the charade or disappoint my parents; my dad, who made fun of transgender people and feminine gay men regularly, and my mom who just wasn’t buying that bisexuality stuff. I was gonna have a wife and naturally born children if it killed me.

This all ended of course, when I met Derrick.

My First Boyfriend

My best friend (who I knew wanted to date me) had introduced the two of us in my last year of high school. Derrick was a college student and the first openly bisexual person I had ever met. He had a confident feminine energy about him and it swept me off my feet. I could tell he really liked me. Our hugs would linger whenever we said goodbye. One day, he kissed me in his car after a late night hangout. I kissed him back and felt the happiest I had been in a long time.

I ran into my house like the joyful, geeky schoolboy I was. When I shut the door, I began to cry. I cried hard and long… The charade was over – I was dating a guy. I cried for my parents, who I knew would be disappointed. For my brother, who might get made fun of for having a gay older brother. For my mother’s Christian Jamaican family, who I was sure was going to shun me for my “life choice”. I cried for the friends I might lose. For the wife and wedding, I was never going to have. I used to go to bed anxious. That night, I went to bed scared.


A heavily filtered picture of me, circa 2012, feeling that post-breakup angst.

The news spread quickly at my school. My best friend found out about Derrick and I and had kicked me in the shin in a fit of sobbing rage. People say in my presence that they believed gay people were disguising. My religion class teacher and I had a fiery debate on the morality of being gay, which landed me a seat in detention. My cover was blown. I was the only openly gay boy at the entire school. I was on the outside now, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to fight back.

In the end, it all worked out. Derrick broke up with me. But I thank him to this day for opening me up to my sexuality. I graduated high school with fewer friends than I went in with, but they are friends I still cherish today. I was too scared to come out to my parents, so they did it for me. They read a melodramatic journal entry I wrote about my lost love with Derrick and asked me if I was gay and depressed. My relationship with my dad never recovered, but my mom and brother have shown me endless love and acceptance. I’ve even introduced my current boyfriend Kevin to my extended family. It went extremely well.

My story is one of exclusion: exclusion from my community, my friends, and exclusion of my own making. But my story is a triumphant one. I am lucky to have the support I have. They are the reasons I am who I am today. But there are many in the LGBTQ+ community who are not afforded the same love and care. And that can be deadly.

Self Hate

Internalized homophobia is a common occurrence among those in the LGBTQ+ community. Internalized homophobia is the self-hatred of a queer individual who wishes they were heterosexual. It’s what caused me to try to pass myself as a straight person in my first few years of high school. We are human beings, and we have an innate need to belong and feel accepted. But it’s not easy to accept and love yourself when everyone around you is living and loving differently than you are.

Many queer people are brought up in conservative or religious societies, in which being LGBTQ+ goes against religious and social rules. In fact, there are currently 76 countries in the world today where homosexuality is illegal. In countries like Sudan and Afghanistan, homosexual acts can be punishable by death. It can be extremely difficult to feel confident in one’s own skin in these conditions, especially the latter.

Anger and Depression

Feeling excluded because of who you are can also cause anger and depressive issues. I fell into a deep depression after my first relationship ended. At the time, Derrick was the only LGBTQ+ person I knew and when he left me, I didn’t know who else to turn to for help and advice while I was discovering who I was. I had a short temper, and I was rude to people often because I felt that no one understood what I was going through. I was angry and sad that I was born this way.

But just like all other forms of depression, I didn’t have to be that way forever, and neither do you! There are a number of LGBTQ+ support systems that you can turn to for help and advice, and they are judgment-free. Here’s a LIST of them, given by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HERE’s an amazing LGBTQ+ youth hotline, for any Canadian readers.

Seeing a counselor or a therapist helps as well. In an ideal world, both your parents would be happy and accepting of who you are. For myself and many others, this can’t always be a reality. But you can’t let that stop you from being happy. It’s your life to live, after all! A huge part of my depression was due to the fact that I had a negative relationship with my dad. Seeing a counselor twice a month allowed me to accept the relationship for what it was and move on with my life. 

Feeling Alone 

It’s hard not to feel isolated when you’re an LGBTQ+ individual living in a society full of heterosexual people. The fact that we’re roughly 4% of the population (In North America, at least) doesn’t make finding love – or even queer friends – any less hard. But whether you’re in a big city or a little town, I guarantee you there are more people like you than you think. You just have to make the effort to look. Connecting can mean linking up via dating apps, but it can also mean doing a little online research to find queer positive spaces, group events, and clubs to go to.

In my first few years of high school, there was no gay-straight-alliance club, but there were youth groups in the city I was living in that were dedicated to queer youth like myself. 

Acting Out

Left: Drag Queen Victoria SIns
Right: Drag King Cole

This may sound worse than what I mean it to be. But let me explain. Many queer individuals don’t want to fit in! And that’s great! Nowadays, it’s becoming more acceptable in North America to express one’s individuality, and many LGBTQ+ people have taken advantage by throwing away gender norms and societal expectations.

Many gay men feel free to embrace their femininity and do things like grow their hair out, or wear nail polish, or makeup. Lesbian women may not feel the need to present themselves as feminine and may embrace their more masculine attributes by keeping their hair shorter and wearing less form-fitting clothing. Many trans individuals recognize that they don’t necessarily have to pass as their gender-identity, as long as they feel confident in how they look. 

Staying Closeted

Some people decide that it’s best to keep themselves in the closet. Keep in mind, there are some extreme situations where coming out is not necessarily a safe choice to make. But keeping one’s identity a secret from the world can come at an extreme mental toll. Staying closeted can increase a person’s likelihood of internalized homophobia and depression. Over time, not being accepting of one’s self can lead to harm in the form of self-harm and other suicidal tendencies. If you are having trouble coming out or if you feel unable to come out safely, I implore you to please reach out to the LGBTQ+ resources linked above.

It’s hard to be any type of minority in a society. But know that being an LGBTQ+ individual does not make you weird or undeserving of love and acceptance. If you’re not finding that love and acceptance now, keep searching! It’s all around you, even if it’s not totally obvious yet.


What did you think of the article? Do you have any stories that you feel comfortable sharing with us related to coming out, and acceptance? Psych2Go would like to hear from you.

If you would like to contact the author privately, please feel free to reach out at

Works Cited

“Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line.” LGBT Youth Line,

“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Aug. 2017,





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  1. im still in the closet woth my family. my dads side(parents devoriced) alot of negatove vibes. he makes fun of transgenders abd feels disgusted by girls wearing boys clothes-hell girls not wearing skirts. i fear that my dad whos already dysfunctional will completely break if i tell him im not straight,much less that i am in a polymorus relationship with 2 girls. my mom might be a little mad ive hidden them for so long but would undersrand with the situations ive been in.
    im out of the closet with my moms family. shes fine with this and loves me. she doesnt know about thenpolymory or anything but people at my school(uve been blessed woth this school) all know and are generally accepting,they also know im closeted. and they listen to me rave and rant over my girlfriends alot.
    its why i use a pen name online and not my real name because its safer fir me.
    i lovey girlfriends.
    i want them to be safe.

  2. It always frighten me to see that in other countries it’s worse than in mine, a pretty atheist country where it’s already difficult to come out.
    People are full of judgement, and think better than you about what is your sexuality. When I came out to my class (not that I wanted but they see us with my ex-girlfriend), they immediately started to think that I was lesbian, maybe that it was because of my girlfriend, so I was attracted to women only. And it was hard to explain them that no, I wasn’t loving someone for it’s gender, but for what they were, in their heart and soul. Luckily for me, it was good people that, if they didn’t understand, never tried to make fun of us, or anything wrong. We were the lesbian of the class, the strange couple. They came with question, not bad questions but sometimes intrusive questions, juste to make themself feel okay about their sexuality and make sure they weren’t like us. There was that christian girl, who started crying when I confirmed her that I was in a relationship with a girl. We were good friends, but one day she asked me if what people said in class was true. No point on lying, and then she started crying because it was bad, I didn’t know what to do about her reaction. She actually asked me if we had sex, because for her, I will be okay for God if I didn’t had a lesbian sexual experience. And it was a shock for me, I felt hurt about her suddenly asking me those kind of things. Even if you’re part of LGBT community you can show it of too much : no kissing in public places for exemple. Juste to be safe if someone is very hateful towards LGBT. If you stand out too much, you will face mockeries, people chatting behind your back. In family you can’t always talk about people you love. I never talked about my ex-girlfriend to my grandparents, I will always have regrets, but my parents told me so. They were understanding and were okay with my relationship, but told me to never mention it. It was hurting, my cousins could talk about they boyfriend but not me, everybody was asking for when I will find a boyfriend when I did had someone to love. It that kind of attitude that, even in open-minded country make you feel bad, and different. It’s nothing compared of what other people live, but sometimes it’s enough to make you wonder if it’s not better for you to come back in the closet to stay here and safe, and be like everyone when you don’t feel like them. Even my actual boyfriend is like that, leaving little commentaries, nothing serious but which are full of wrong feelings just for being funny. But it’s not funny anymore. You have to fight constantly. No day without a fight on something, whether it’s at work, in family or in friends. When you just wanted to be yourself, never bother anyone on being another sexuality or gender or anything and people still bugging you, everywhere you go. When I did go the Gay Pride in Paris, I met wonderful people, I feel great, I feel at home, with all that people that were free to be want they want for a day, but I never feel safe. Walking down those streets, I was cheering with the other, dancing, screaming but waiting for something bad to happened, cause I know there’s a lot of people that hate us. Everything went fine, but talking with friends told me that I wasn’t the only one feeling insecure that day. But well… It’s better than nothing I guess.

    1. Hi Elinska,

      Thank you so much for telling your story. Believe me when I say I completely understand how you feel and where you’ve been. It can be hard to feel like you have to constantly explain yourself to others. Congrats on going to pride though! As scary as it can be (yes, we aren’t liked by everyone) it’s amazing to be in a place full of people like you, where you feel you belong!

  3. Thank you for this. I have been struggling, feeling like i am alone. I hope others will read this and that it will help them like it helped me.

  4. Hi Alex, I read your story and i am honestly so impressed!!!! You sound like an amazing human being and i am so proud of your accomplishments. I myself am a closeted bisexual who has kept it a secret for my entire 22 years of living. I unfortunately live in one of those countries where it is completely illegal to be gay and in some cases actually results in death. Its so scary being isolated and feeling so different. I suffer from internalized homophobia greatly and your story really gave me strength. I have been going through so much lately. I fell in love with my straight best friend and i fell hard. I would move mountains for him and i would swim across oceans for him, but i can never tell him I Love him. This is something i plan to live with for the rest of my life, but your story made me a lot stronger. Im still on my way to finding my happiness, but it makes me so much happier that you found yours. Until we meet there hopefully my friend 🙂 But until then thank you so much for sharing your beautiful words!

    1. Hi,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story. It breaks my heart that you live somewhere where you are not welcome to be yourself. It’s a scary thing to feel isolated and different, we often turn on ourselves as a result. Just know that you are strong and happiness is completely possible for you. Even in a country like yours, you’re not alone! If you don’t feel you can trust anyone with your secret, you have me, and a vast LGBT community to reach out to online. I wish I had better advice to give you, my friend. All I can say is this: be proud of yourself, and be patient. Love will always find a way. <3


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