Not all allies, or even queer people, start out as champions of LGBTQ rights. In fact, many allies and queer people are actually ex-homophobes who changed their views over time. Just like formerly anti-gay celebrities, people renounce their homophobia for a multitude of reasons. Some ex-homophobes attribute their former hatred to the way their families raised them; religion definitely plays a part in many ex-homophobe stories.
But according to more than one former homophobe, a lack of queer visibility and exposure lead them to believe conjecture about the gay community. Misconceptions about queer lifestyles even leads to homophobia from LGBTQ celebrities.
All of these stories from ex-homophobes reveal that being an ally to the gay community requires not only being a friend to gay people but also being an advocate for their rights and their visibility.
This Poster Saw A Gay Kid Get Bullied
"Watched a kid get the hell beaten out of him by some kids I knew in high school for no reason other than he was gay. Didn't stop it out of fear and wish I had a time machine to go back and stop it every time it crosses my mind. Never associated with the kids again and immediately began re-evaluating who I was and my belief system.
"Came out as trans this year and have been an active part in the LGBTQ community where I live for the last decade..."
He Had A Conversation About Normality
"I used to be like, 'It's wrong because it's not natural. If it was natural you'd be able to procreate.' Then a co-worker was like, 'Well my wife and I choose not to procreate does that make us unnatural?' And I said, 'No you're good' and he said, 'What about infertile people who can't have children, are they unnatural?'
"And I said, 'Well they didn't choose to be infertile' and he said, 'Well what makes you think gays would choose to be gay if it's so much harder to live like that?'
"Now my wife and I are infertile as hell."
This Poster Read Comics That Mentioned LGBTQ Individuals
"I am an Indian, and the awareness level about homosexuality used to be very low. [LGBTQ individuals] are literally just stereotypical joke characters in Bollywood. My parents were not even aware that there is a difference between eunuchs and homosexuals.
"I got to learn about them through X-Men."
Her Partner Had Gay Parents
"Born and raised Southern Baptist. Taught my entire life that homosexuality was a sin, ugly, and distasteful. First boyfriend in high school, however, had lesbian moms. We had our first Thanksgiving together with his family at their house, and I was surprised by how normal it was, the exact opposite of everything that I was taught. They had a normal house, decorated like mine. Kids running around happily and noisily like my siblings. His moms were affectionate with each other like my parents, and were the exact opposite of everything I was raised to believe. They were just two wonderful moms who happened to be lesbians.
"My BF was so great, always challenging me to think differently and be more open-minded to what the world had to offer instead of just never questioning why I believed what I believed. I wish it was an experience that more people could have."