A man has prompted a big response online for acknowledging he acted in a homophobic manner when younger. He now wonders if there’s any way he can suitably make amends.
The Reddit user posted on the weekend in the gaybros sub-Reddit: “When I was young I used to hate gay guys and make fun of them because I was afraid to admit to myself that I’m gay.”
He says he even joined protests against Pride parades. He’s now had a change of heart.
“I was influenced by bad company and nationalists. Now I live in western Europe I’m jealous of gay couples. I would love to apologize to them.
“I’m in my 20s, but only thing that I do is going to gym, going to university and playing football with my colleagues. Sometimes I don’t deserve to be happy I think. I’m afraid to date guys. I’m so discreet sometimes even though I live in open-minded city. I seem happy and quite social to other people but I’m stuck inside my head.”
Fellow Reddit users responded with a variety of answers. Most suggested he should not beat himself up about his actions when younger.
“Apologize by living your best life as a gay man,” suggested one. “That’s about as much as we can ask and expect of you. We all have our own paths towards acceptance, and people can’t begrudge you for being raised in an environment that wasn’t tolerant about LGBT.
“You can’t change your past, but you are responsible for your present and future. So live free from all that baggage that you have been carrying. Everyone deserves to be happy, and you owe it to yourself to give you a chance for it. That is what gay pride is about.”
Related: Closeted gay teen finds homophobic dad on Grindr
Other reassured him that he wasn’t the first queer person to express homophobia when younger.
“Don’t be hard on yourself,” said another. “I live in the US. In high school, I used to be a bit homophobic, had a girlfriend and was super closeted. People change. Take your time. Maybe try to join a gay sports league or go to meetups.”
Related: Ex-Bully Comes Out As Gay, Apologizes For Homophobic Torment
Another user said it’s unavoidable that we will hurt other people at some point in our lives. If we can’t apologize in person, the next best way to make amends is through actions.
“If you hurt others, volunteer at a LGBTQ+ suicide hotline,” suggested one of those to comment beneath the original post. “If you hurt others, donate to programs that develop anti-bullying and inclusion-based curricula for schools. If you hurt others, volunteer for mentoring programs and give time back to kids who don’t have the option of hiding behind a mask of CIS rage.
“You did what you did. It was not good. But you probably did your best with the tools you had. And now you have more tools with which to cope. The world needs your action more than your sorrow. Who knows? By volunteering your time to help LGBTQ+ causes, you might make gay friends. And you might feel a little more like you can be who you are.”
In a similar vein, another Redditor said, “I had some stuff in my past I carried guilt from. Finally, I set a goal, not an easy one, and forgave myself. My goal was good deeds to balance the wrong I had done.
“I met my goal and kept on doing good, because, I’d found a better place for myself…I became the guy who is kind to everyone. Great place to be.”
Others reinforced the notion that living his best gay life was the way forward.
“Discreet is a code word for “I’m ashamed”,” cautioned one. “You know yourself that being happy involves being open and doing what you actually want. We’re all, to some extent, the product of our environments and you’ve recognized that so the next step is living that.
“As a community, we do NOT need any more crestfallen gays throwing perpetual pity parties, we’re all full up on those. We need more people living their true selves without shame, so if you’re feeling guilty over whatever know that is all it takes to undo the harm, I doubt honestly anyone remembers anything you said or did, but I can remember nearly every out gay person I met or saw when I was growing up. All for the low low price of living happily as yourself.”
Related: Man’s homophobic childhood bully hits on him on Scruff
Ultimately, many people reminded the user not to dwell on the past too much.
“All of us make bad mistakes in life,” offered another commentor. “What happens next is what defines us. Don’t let yourself be defined by your past and don’t ruin your future in a futile attempt to atone for something that you can’t put right. Be sorry for what you did and be the best yourself you can be.”
Did you ever behave in a homophobic manner when younger? Do you have any advice to add?
He wants to apologize to random people for something that had nothing to do with them? It’s not enough to just have remorse and learn from his mistakes, he has to make a public production of it so everyone knows he is a Good Person, I guess.
PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
A kid doing dumbarse things can be forgiven. Like someone suggested volunteer somewhere, do some good to make amends….
What I can’t forgive is an adult who deliberately causes harm to the Gay community while knowing they are Gay however closeted. Like elected officials who support Anti-Gay measures ..
Or worse, someone like Bill Sanderson, former Republican legislator of Tennessee who supported anti LGBTQ bills even though one of his sons is LGBTQ and after he was outed he decided to resign immediately because his winery needed full time attention.
If i was to apologize for the sins of my youth we’d all be drinking again. The fact you hate yourself, well now let’s ta about your punishment over a bottle of Jagermeister.
Sheesh, give a donation to It Gets Better or something.
I have a friend who was bullied by a homophobic football player in high school (late 70’s) A few years after graduation my friend goes to a gay club in L.A. and sees the bully dancing with shirtless abandon. They chatted for a moment or two. I asked my friend, “Did he apologize for how he treated you in school?” “No,” he said. “He just said, ‘I want you to know, I’m really really happy now.”
I vaguely interpreted that as him saying he was the way he was in high school because he of being closeted and unhappy. Which, given our location the era, is to me even more understandable than the Reddit guy. But I still think he could have acknowledged the pain he caused and said, “Sorry”.
Two possibilities seem likely.
1. If this story is real, he is using the “I want to apologize” story as a way to meet gay guys
2. The story is bogus, because if he had been cruel to actual gay people when younger, he would know who they are and could apologize directly.
I remember when I was an underclassman in high school, I was very slowly coming out, but was very focused on passing as straight. I had an out, loud and proud classmate that I treated unfairly. I disliked him for being so effeminate and unapologetic. I gossiped about him and was cold to his face. I didn’t realize at the time that this was internalized homophobia and now I even wish I had more of his kind of flare. There are always victims in the path of our personal growth. When we become better, we make it right by correcting our actions towards the people in our lives and, when possible, seeking atonement from those we’ve wronged.
I would agree with those who advised him not to dwell on the past and live for the present and the future. There is no way that what was done in the past can be undone. What is totally doable is not living that way now and for the future and do what ever you conscious calls on you to do to make amends.
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