possible trigger warning homophobia

I shouldn't have to remind myself that I am valid. That my sexuality doesn't make me an evil person, nor a predator. But I do.
I write it on my wrist, first in a rainbow, then covered with black pen. I roll down my sleeves so that my roommates don't ask me why.
"I just can't imagine all of that internalized homophobia," a guy says.
I can.
It starts when you're young, because (and listen here) hate is taught.
It's your dad yelling "F****t" at the news playing on the tv. It's the youth group leader preaching entirely about how God says homosexuality is wrong. It's your mom turning you away from a lesbian couple in the Walmart coffee aisle. It's hearing your classmates argue over why gay marriage should not be legal, because "f*gs are disgusting." Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.
It's the mental concept that liking the same sex is not even an option. You can't think about it. You can't think about it!
It's never allowing yourself to develop crushes on girls because that's gay and then you'll go to Hell and everyone will hate you.
Internalized homophobia is realizing that you might actually like girls, and then you contemplate killing yourself because it's better to be dead than surrounded by people that used to love you now hating you.
Not even allowing girls to be an option, not considering until you are 18. Crying for 3 hours because it's the end of the world.
It's feeling alone, isolated, burdensome, targeted, like a liar.
It's hiding everything from your parents. Losing a best friend because you just aren't sure if she will be okay with you, or if she'll get angry and out you to everyone.
It's labeling yourself bisexual before lesbian.
It's watching everyone's eyes as you buy a ticket that you drove an hour away for, to see Love, Simon and crying 7 times because your family would never react in this way.
It's being jealous of literally every out LGBTQ+ person. Every single one!
When you ask yourself every day if "you're just faking it" if this is even real. If your roommates would kick you out.
It's hiding your journal from everyone because it has become your only outlet and if someone, god forbid, read it, you wouldn't be able to go on.
It's listening to "gay songs" on the lowest possible level so no one can hear the words outside of your headphones.
It's feeling like a fraud.

So yes, I will write that I am valid on my wrist. I need the reminder. And maybe one day, I won't feel all of this pain growing like ivy around my brain. One day, I'll look into my wife's eyes and I'll won't need the reminder. Until then...