In Western countries there is a strong tradition based on discrimination against homosexuals . This cultural characteristic (which also appears and has appeared in many other societies) has not only been reflected in laws that discriminate against this minority, but has also had an effect on the majority’s way of thinking.

In fact, even today it is not strange that homosexuals are being criminalized and discriminated against by using the most absurd excuses: from the appeal to a supposed “human nature” that coincidentally coincides with the description of what one thinks love and family should be, to biblical quotations interpreted as being in one’s own interest , to myths about homosexuality that are not supported by scientific consensus .

Leaving homophobia behind, step by step

In short, homophobia continues to be a reality even in the most affluent societies with greater access to university education. In fact, many people experience a kind of cognitive dissonance when they understand that there is no reason to discriminate against homosexuals and at the same time are surprised by falling into beliefs or thoughts based on homophobia .

But all thought patterns can be modified, and this one too. Here are some keys to stop being homophobic, based on the principles of cognitive-behavioral psychology.

1. Consider the usefulness of your mental schemes

A mental scheme is the set of ideas and beliefs that acts as a matrix to interpret reality. It is what makes, for example, some people relate the concept of “chemicals” to technology, pollution and processed foods, and others relate it to practically everything that exists (and which is composed of atoms and molecules).

In this case, we should first ask ourselves whether the cognitive scheme that is being applied when thinking about the idea of homosexuality is useful for understanding this concept in the best possible way. This involves questioning whether the stereotypes that were related to homosexuals are in themselves indispensable for understanding these people. In the end, one can be homosexual without fulfilling them

It also means questioning the idea that homosexuality is both an ideology and a sexual orientation, which is logically impossible. Many of the ideas used to defend discrimination are based on criticisms of ideological groups that are against homophobia, not homosexuality itself.

2. Consider the degree to which you believe in equality

The idea that all human beings are equal implies the belief that, in the absence of very strong arguments based on scientific consensus to the contrary, all individuals should enjoy exactly the same rights .

Thus, a good way to carry out cognitive restructuring autonomously is to reflect on the reasons why it is believed that a minority such as the homosexual population should not have the same rights as others. Are these beliefs well founded? Is there scientific consensus on the reasons why the treatment of these people should be different in certain aspects?

3. Write down the habits that feed homophobia

A person is what he thinks, but also what he does. That’s why one way to stop being homophobic is to reflect on the habits and habitual paths of thought that fit in with homophobia and to remain alert to prevent its appearance .

For example, to think of homosexuality as an insult, or to consider that all members of this minority fulfill the stereotypes that some people associate with the LGBT movement.

4. Learn to argue in the face of homophobic comments

Reverse engineering the homophobic beliefs of others is a good way to detect their flaws and logical cracks. This, besides being very useful to exteriorize your change of perspective, is very stimulating intellectually, because it involves discovering new reasoning that opens up through the old beliefs that you previously held.