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I'm a bad person

Hey Sam,

I have a question for you about a quite sensitive topic. I can't stop thinking about the term 'homophobia'. At school and at home, kids and teens nowadays are all told that homophobia is bad. That it's a form of discrimination. And I agree, when it refers to bullying & threatening, etc, but we're taught that simply thinking LGBT+s are bad is wrong. That just gets me really mad. So if I dislike them in my head, I'm a bad person? I wouldn't have to act on it or anything, or treat them any differently. If that's my opinion, is it really okay to call it wrong? It'd be nice to hear someone's thoughts on the subject :)

I hope this doesn't offend anyone. Only reply if you want to.
Yours, E

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Sam

Hi there,

It’s never okay to hurt or bully someone for who they are – and it’s good that I can see that you’re not doing that. We can’t choose how we feel – but it’s good to think about where our beliefs and views come from and why we think the things we do.

Anytime we judge a person for something that they can’t control – such as looks, race, gender, sexuality and ability – then we’re being unfair. Everyone makes judgements from time to time, no matter how much we like to think we don’t.

Having these thoughts doesn’t make you a bad person – it just makes you a person. We can all be better people if we really think about what judgements we’re making and making sure they don’t change how we treat someone.

Assuming anything about a person is probably going to mean you get a wrong impression most of the time. People are complex and everyone is different. If someone is transgender, you can’t tell anything about them, other than they’re transgender. Try to get to know someone because of who they are, not what they are.

It’s also important to recognise the difference between not liking a person because they are LGBT, and not being comfortable with the idea of being LGBT.

If you feel awkward imagining being attracted to someone of the same sex, that’s a sign you are not gay or bisexual. Someone who is gay might feel the same way when thinking about being with a person of the opposite sex. Neither person is wrong for feeling that way, because you can’t help being straight or gay. The important thing is not judging a person who is different to us – and that goes for everything, not just sexuality.

It’s also important to make up your own mind about what you think is right and wrong. Thinking carefully about why we think one way or another will mean you can better understand yourself – and being willing to change your views when you think you’ve got it wrong.

Everyone changes their views as they grow older and meet people who are different. We all have unique experiences and different views – it’s what makes people so interesting and part of what makes relationships meaningful.

I’d encourage you to put aside the fact that someone might be LGBT and get to know them as a person – you might find that actually their sexuality is only a small part of what makes them good to be around.

Thanks for such a brave letter, I hope this has helped anyone feeling like this. If you'd like to share your thoughts with other people, you can do this on our message boards.

Take care,
Sam

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