On Learning to Hate Yourself

Lesson one: go to church.
Most churches, even if they claim tolerance,
hate homosexuality. If you’re lucky,
you will find a church that doesn’t
talk about sex in general; in such cases,
your sexuality will be a particularly
anxious absence. Silence is a good teacher.
Lesson two: try very hard,
during adolescence, to think of women
when you masturbate. Give up,
then tell yourself how evil you really are.
Three: cultivate friendships with guys
who make fun of faggots, queers,
cocksuckers, dykes, etc. Internalize this.
Lesson four: if you date women,
idealize them. This makes your rejection
of them even more reprehensible.
Lesson five: remember your wet dreams.

Though you may have little power
to determine this, it helps to grow up
in a rural culture, in the South, or
in the working class. A combination
of all three is ideal, especially if religion
is a integral component of the culture.
Family interest or involvement in
religious fundamentalism or right-
wing politics (particularly as inflected
through the religious right) will
help you maintain your self-hatred.

Also, if you have developed,
unconsciously, inappropriate
gender-coded gestures or behaviors,
this will help in your development.
When others notice such behaviors,
this should provoke shame or
embarrassment, and you will
feel a need to police your actions
with abnormal vigilance.
For example, carry your books
“like a girl.” Inevitably someone
will point this out to you, probably
sometime during your junior high years.

If, at some point in your life,
you must tell someone about yourself,
select friends and acquaintances
who will respond in horror,
disgust, or religious disapprobation.
The ability to quote scripture
or the knowledge of certain
loathsome stereotypes is a plus.

This will reinforce the lesson
you have spent a lifetime learning.