Former Homophobes Share What Turned Their Attitudes Around

Ashley Hunte
A crowd of people waving pride flags at a Pride parade.
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For most of us, the idea of being discriminatory against someone's sexual or gender identity is a completely foreign concept. But sadly, there's still a lot of homophobia in the world.

The good news about that is that many homophobic people eventually learn that the LGBT+ community is full of wonderful, normal people. These self-proclaimed former homophobes of Reddit shared what made them realize that being gay isn't a problem.

"When a dude in my English class shared his family cut him out for being gay and he had no family willing to help."

A group of friends sitting together on a ledge.
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"I didn’t know that was common and the class rallied around him."

- u/nolafalles

"In middle school I remember thinking anyone who was gay/bi was just doing it for attention."

Two men in tuxedos holding hands while carrying a floral bouquet.
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"Like, similar to how people might wear those insane scene kid outfits around the same time. I wasn't really a homophobe, but I would definitely sort of roll my eyes."

"Like, of course there are hot guys/girls. Duh."

A pride parade consisting of people wearing various flags for LGBT identities.
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"Duh. You don't have to make it your whole personality. Just go with the flow or don't complain about not fitting in.

"Welp, turns out not everyone thinks guys and girls are equally hot."

- u/Human-Carpet-6905

"I made a very good friend at my job. I cared for her a lot. One of the best people I ever met."

Two women kissing against a cloudy sky.
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"I didn't know she was gay until about 2 months in. At that point I realized that she was just like me, and what she did behind closed doors, with her SO, didn't matter to me at all. She was and still is, a wonderful human being."

- u/stephhaney

"HBO. When I was in school a show called 'Six Feet Under' started."

Two men laughing and embracing on an outdoor bench.
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"It was the first thing I ever saw that depicted a gay relationship. On top of that there were several docs about gay people and the gay community around the same time."

"That kind of got me past the childish reactions I had to gay people."

Couple cuddling on a couch in 'Six Feet Under'
Giphy | HBO

"You never know what opens people's eyes to this kind of thing, and that's why representation matters."

- u/DarthDregan

Showing minorities as normal people will make people realize they are normal people.

"Christian Boomer Dude here: Like people are saying in these comments, get to know a gay person instead of simply judging them based on hearsay."

Two women embracing while wearing pride attire.
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"Gay people are some of the warmest, kindest people I’ve known. It kills me that families are disowning them. Gay people don’t wake up one morning and suddenly decide they’re gay. It’s how they’re made. I’ve had gay friends tell me they wish they were straight. So enough already with the persecution."

- u/bdbdbokbuck

"I grew up. People are just people."

A woman excitedly raising a pride flag behind her while on a stool.
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"The number of out gay people I have met led me to the conclusion they are way happier than the straight people I have met. It must be such a relief to not have to live a lie anymore. Maybe the original homophobes were just jealous that gay people seemed to be happy all the time."

- u/GoodRighter

"I wouldn’t say I was ever a homophobe, but I grew up in a small town and was subsequently sheltered."

A person's knuckles, on which "LGBTQIA+" have been painted in rainbow colors along each finger.
Unsplash | Alexander Grey

"One of my college roommates came out after living with him for two years. When he was single, we’d wingman for him at the local gay bar. I met some of my best college friends at that bar. Pretty soon he started dating a guy, and not so long from now I’ll be standing in their wedding."

- u/mdiddy77

"I grew up in a rural town in the 80s. Seeing gays as 'bad' was just the norm."

The updated pride flag, including colors for gender and racial diversity.
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"In the mid 90s I was staying at a friend's flat and he came out to me. I was kind of disgusted at first and told him 'just stay on your side of the room.'"

"At first I was genuinely worried he was going to hit on me or 'try some gay [expletive].'"

The shadows of two men holding hands next to a street lamp.
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"Then I thought about it a bit. He was my friend. The same person I'd known for years. Coming out must have been so hard for him. He is still one of my dearest friends and I still apologise for my behaviour that night."

- PlzMichaelBayThis

"I was anti-LGBTQ+ from middle school and freshman year of high school."

A traffic pedestrian light featuring two stick figures holding hands and a heart.
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"I really don’t remember why I hated them, I just did. I think I mainly did so I could be different. I remember one day in 10th grade, I just thought about why I hated these people."

"I realized that I hated them for absolutely no reason at all."

Two men holding hands, showing off their wedding rings.
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"I apologized to all the people that I may have hurt with my behavior and I eventually worked the f-slur out of my vocabulary."

- u/BellGarcia

Stories like these make you realize how easy change is, and it sucks that some people refuse to do even that.

"I come from a family of proudly uneducated, unemployed, judgmental religious, racist, sexist, homophobic, rural right leaning hicks."

Two men in a loving embrace, while one holds a few white roses.
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"I was raised with a lot of terrible ideas. When I moved away from home was the big one, but meeting wonderful LGBTQ people who took the [time] to educate me also helped."

"It took a long time but accepting that I don't have a specific gender that I'm attracted to."

A wall of phrases like "love wins" and "love is love" accompanied with a neon rainbow.
Unsplash | Jason Leung

"And that part of my discomfort was inspired by guilt instilled in me through religion and my families political leanings helped me come out and finally stand up to my family."

- u/Lunar_Cats

"I was raised to be homophobic. I was born in 1980 so it was not uncommon."

Two men embracing while holding lit sparklers.
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"In the mid 90's my mom got a job at a call center and became friends with a gay man."

"It took me a while, but once I gave the guy a chance and got to know him, I realized that was good guy and something just snapped in my head."

A neon rainbow sign on a dark wall.
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"I have since made apologies to a couple of gay people that I had said some offensive things to prior to this happening."

- u/navyvetmatt

"My mother was not a homophobe in a hatred sense...but she was a product of her time in having a general attitude of 'Eh, gay people, I don't wanna know.'"

Two women happily enjoying each other's company.
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"She worked as a receptionist in a hospital, and there was a dying AIDS patient there. Every day, the patient's gay partner would come in and spend most of the day with him."

"One day, she was walking past the AIDS patient's room, and saw him and his gay partner holding hands and crying, surrounded by flowers and cards, etc."

Two men in suits, standing side by side an smiling.
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"According to my mother, her thought process went like this:

"Wow, look at that, those two look just like a real couple.....

(beat)

Oh....

Right, I get it now!"

- u/MisterMarcus

"I'm not really even sure why I was homophobic in the first place."

A person's open palm, which has a rainbow and a heart painted onto it.
Unsplash | Alexander Grey

"I guess because most of my family and friends were. Honestly, I think I simply grew up."

- u/revtim

I think when it comes down to it, most "homophobic" people just aren't taught any different (until they are).