Lesbian Internalized Homophobia Scale (LIHS)

The Lesbian Internalized Homophobia Scale (LIHS) is a 52 item measure reflecting five dimensions of internalized homophobia: connection with the lesbian community, public identification as a lesbian, personal feelings about being a lesbian, moral and religious attitudes toward lesbians, and attitudes toward other lesbians.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female

Age Range: Adults


Connection With the Lesbian Community

  1. When interacting with members of the lesbian community, I often feel different and alone, like I don't fit in.
  2. Attending lesbian events and organizations is important to me.
  3. I feel isolated and separate from other lesbians.
  4. Most of my friends are lesbians.
  5. Social situations with other lesbians make me feel uncomfortable.
  6. Being a part of the lesbian community is important to me.
  7. Having lesbian friends is important to me.
  8. I feel comfortable joining a lesbian social group, lesbian sports team, or lesbian organization.
  9. I am familiar with community resources for lesbians (i.e., bookstores, support groups, bars, etc.).
  10. I am aware of the history concerning the development of lesbian communities andor the lesbiangay rights movement.
  11. I am familiar with lesbian books andor magazines.
  12. I am familiar with lesbian movies andor music.
  13. I am familiar with lesbian music festivals and conferences.

Public Identification as a Lesbian

  1. I try not to give signs that I am a lesbian. I am careful about the way I dress; the jewelry I wear; and the places, people, and events I talk about.
  2. I am comfortable being an "out" lesbian. I want others to know and see me as a lesbian.
  3. I wouldn't mind if my boss knew that I was a lesbian.
  4. It is important for me to conceal the fact that I am a lesbian from my family.
  5. I feel comfortable talking to my heterosexual friends about my everyday home life with my lesbian partnerlover or my everyday activities with my lesbian friends.
  6. I am not worried about anyone finding out that I am a lesbian.
  7. I live in fear that someone will find out I am a lesbian.
  8. I feel comfortable talking about homosexuality in public.
  9. I do not feel the need to be on guard, lie, or hide my lesbianism to others.
  10. If my peers knew of my lesbianism, I am afraid that many would not want to be friends with me.
  11. I could not confront a straight friend or acquaintance if she or he made a homophobic or heterosexist statement to me.
  12. I feel comfortable discussing my lesbianism with my family.
  13. I don't like to be seen in public with lesbians who look ''too butch'' or are ''too out'' because others will then think I am a lesbian.
  14. I act as if my lesbian lovers are merely friends.
  15. When speaking of my lesbian loverpartner to a straight person, I often use neutral pronouns so the sex of the person is vague.
  16. When speaking of my lesbian loverpartner to a straight person, I change pronouns so that others will think I'm involved with a man rather than a woman.

Personal Feelings About Being a Lesbian

  1. I hate myself for being attracted to other women.
  2. I am proud to be a lesbian.
  3. I feel bad for acting on my lesbian desires.
  4. As a lesbian, I am loveable and deserving of respect.
  5. I feel comfortable being a lesbian.
  6. If I could change my sexual orientation and become heterosexual, I would.
  7. I don't feel disappointment in myself for being a lesbian.
  8. Being a lesbian makes my future look bleak and hopeless.

Moral and Religious Attitudes Toward Lesbians

  1. Just as in other species, female homosexuality is a natural expression of sexuality in human women.
  2. Female homosexuality is a sin.
  3. Female homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle.
  4. Children should be taught that being gay is a normal and healthy way for people to be.
  5. Lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children the same as heterosexual couples.
  6. Growing up in a lesbian family is detrimental for children.
  7. Lesbian lifestyles are viable and legitimate choices for women.

Attitudes Toward Other Lesbians

  1. I feel comfortable with the diversity of women who make up the lesbian community
  2. If some lesbians would change and be more acceptable to the larger society, lesbians as a group would not have to deal with so much negativity and discrimination.
  3. I wish some lesbians wouldn't ''flaunt'' their lesbianism. They only do it for shock value and it doesn't accomplish anything positive.
  4. Lesbians are too aggressive.
  5. My feelings toward other lesbians are often negative.
  6. I frequently make negative comments about other lesbians.
  7. I have respect and admiration for other lesbians.
  8. I can't stand lesbians who are too ''butch.'' They make lesbians as a group look bad.

Response Options:

A 7-point Likert scale, ranging from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree."

Scoring Procedures

Scores are averaged, with higher scores indicating a greater degree of internalized homophobia.

Original Citation

Szymanski, D. M., & Chung, Y. B. (2001). The lesbian internalized homophobia scale: A rational/theoretical approach. Journal of homosexuality, 41(2), 37-52.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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