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Gay Shame

Survey Am I ashamed of being gay?

Gay shame. Internalised homophobia. Sexual stigma. Whichever way you want to slice it, we’ve all witnessed it, experienced it and maybe even felt it ourselves; that niggling voice in the back of our head telling us that we’re in some way wrong for feeling how we feel, acting how we act or loving who we love.

Take, for example, a lonely night illuminated by the glow of a hook-up app, the click of a profile in eager anticipation, and then the feeling of anguish in our stomachs as one of the most damaging phrases in modern gay culture flashes up: “Masc4masc.”

Why, when it’s never been as accepted to be gay, do we feel the need to judge our brothers for acting how they want to act? Have we been indoctrinated to be ashamed of who we are?

The Rainbow Project defines gay shame as lesbian, gay and bisexual people who “may be socialised into thinking that being non-heterosexual is somehow ‘bad’, ‘wrong’ or ‘immoral’”, leading to “feelings of self-disgust and self-hatred”.

It doesn’t apply to all of us, of course. There are many colours in this rainbow of ours. But it can lead some of us to lie about who we are, changing how we act, or just outright hating ourselves. It’s a serious issue – many mental health groups have attributed the higher rate of suicide among LGBT youths to this phenomenon – and it’s one we’re just not talking about enough.

To that end, we put ten hypothetical scenarios to 1,000 of our readers – and our panel of five experts – to try and define what it is that makes us ashamed of being gay. Some of you even wrote in with your own thoughts about gay shame, which we’ve included, but kept anonymous.

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About Gay Times

Trans pioneer Aydian Dowling is this months cover star and inside he gives us the lowdown on his amazing journey so far. His fascinating story is accompanied by an exclusive photo shoot. Also in this issue: Gay shame. What is it, and do you have it? Brian Friedman - The choreographer and X-Factor and I'm A Celebrity star catches us up on where he's been, and where he's going next. Remembering the gay and bi men who changed the world. Jess Glynne. YouTuber Calum McSwiggan tells us whe he's NOT sorry about his porn past. Ruby Wax. Could you be arrested for owning poppers? Rikki Beadle-Blair. 12 things that will come between you and your boyfriend. Hansal Mehta. BFI Flare Festival - what do you need to book for? Travel to: Chicago and Lisbon. And don't forget all our regular features: Fitness with Charlie King with Chris Jones. Date night with Edd Kimber and the Gastro Gays. Ask Aled. Dear Josh. Michelle Visage. Benjamin Cohen. Michael Alig. Modern Family. Positive Luke. PJ Brennan. The Guyliner. Last but not least, enjoy three bonus videos in this digital edition.