Homophobia is a pervasive problem for LGBTQ people. It can be blatant or subtle, and it presents itself in institutional as well as personal ways. For example, homophobia can exist in the form of laws or social norms that restrict LGBTQ sexuality and relationships, as well as in the forms of religious textual interpretations that reject homosexuality. It can also exist in the form of violence and discrimination that affects LGBTQ people on a personal level, such as physical assault, verbal abuse, name-calling, threats, and bullying.
Experiencing homophobia can lead to poor relationship quality within gay or lesbian relationships. For example, if an individual experiences internalized homophobia, they may be disapproving of the same-sex attraction that their partners experience, or they may feel a need to prove their heterosexuality in order to gain their partner's acceptance (Mohr & Fassinger, 2006).
The best way to combat homophobia is by challenging negative stereotypes about LGBTQ people, and showing your support for them by being out and by ensuring that the LGBTQ people in your life know that you are an ally. However, as with all things, it is important to be safe and mindful before making or supporting statements that could be taken as a joke or as an endorsement of hatred against LGBTQ people.