1. "I'm gay...so what?"
Show that the word gay does not have any negative power over you. Embrace who you are and shock them into silence!
2. Hold your head up high
Remember that you have done absolutely nothing wrong - they are the ones with the problem. You should carry on about your business with your head held high
3. Dignity, Dignity, Dignity
They may be embarrassing themselves with their words and actions, but that doesn't mean you should stoop to their level. Keep your head held high, don't say anything petty or defensive, and hold yourself in a calm, confident and composed way.
4. Accept Yourself
The best thing you can do when someone is intolerant or hateful towards you is accept yourself. By showing them - and yourself - that you are at peace with your identity, the power of their words and hatred will be lost.
5. Strong Body Language is Key
Show them that their words don't upset you (even if they do). Keep your back straight and your head held high. Keep your feet apart and strongly rooted to the ground. Keep your hands still and by your side. Keep strong eye contact and make your presence felt. Show strength through how you stand and hold yourself...it exudes clear confidence and self belief.
6. Be the bigger person
Show everyone that you are the bigger person - keep calm, keep composed and keep yourself grounded. Don't lash out or respond - instead be purposeful and measured in your movements and your words. Show people who is more mature and the better human being.
7. Remain respectful
Despite their hatred and their rudeness, you must remain respectful towards anyone being hateful. Try and make eye contact with the individual, don't say anything rude or derogatory back, and try and listen to their point of view. You don't have to accept what they say or let them 'win', but try and respect their right to a voice.
8. Avoid confrontation
Never let things get physical. Any confrontation is to be avoided at all cost. Walk away and keep calm - never provoke aggression.
9. Shake it off
This is certainly easier said than done, but if you can find the humour in the situation, do it! By laughing off hatred or uncomfortable situations, you can show that the empty, shallow and pathetic words of nasty and hateful people doesn't faze you. Let go of their negativity and throw it back in their face!
10. Talk about it
Being open and being confident about your sexuality will send any homophobe back into their hateful hole. By being open about your sexuality, you can send a very clear message that you are not scared about your identity, and so show that the word 'gay' isn't going to get to you. Being open about your sexuality shows confidence and composure, making you much less vulnerable to bullying.
11. Keep Calm
Let them look the fool - show that you're calm, confident and composed. Don't fight fire with fire...show strength!
12. Fight Ignorance
So much bullying, stigma and hatred comes from ignorance. Homophobes mainly act out of fear and ignorance - they do not know or understand gay people. Many homophobic individuals are often hiding issues about their own sexuality - they fear who they are and so project this onto others. By showing that sexuality is something normal and that you are a happy human being, you can fight the ignorance surrounding sexuality.
13. Try and understand them
Homophobia doesn't come from nowhere - people will try and give reasons or justifications for their actions. Try and understand where people are coming from - they may have reasons to support what they're saying, and they do deserve a fair hearing.
14. Live your life
The best thing you can do in the face of homophobic hatred is to keep living your life regardless. There are thousands of people hiding their sexuality, fearing bullying and persecution if they were to ever 'come out'. You can be the role model who shows them that you can be happy, confident and live your life to the full regardless of any haters. Don't change what you do or who you are.
15. Rehearse your response
Get some close friends together and rehearse how you'd respond to homophobic insults or comments. Think of a one-sentence response you could use in these situations, and practice keeping a calm voice and strong eye contact.
16. Let it inspire you
Homophobia can often be a wake up call - it can show you that there are some very narrow minded, ignorant and nasty people in our world. Let that inspire you to be even more loving, compassionate and kind to people!