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Today is International Day Against Homophobia

Posted by Caitie F on May 17, 2011

Which is all well and good. Getting rid of it would be a great thing. But what we really need to get rid of is the word homophobia.

It is an excuse. It lets people off the hook. How? It has the word phobia attached to it. A phobia is “a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or  situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it

That is not what people mean when they say homophobic. They mean that someone hates gay people. They are not afraid of them, they just want to bring them down. And they don’t just avoid people who are gay and let them live their lives. No, they mock them, beat them up, and make them feel like crap about themselves everyday.

And it can’t be called irrational. That is when you don’t know why you are afraid of something. But we know exactly why some people hate gay people. They learned it from their friends and family. They learned it from entertainment all around them. They learned it from the policies (or lack thereof) in their government. They learned it from their churches who are too busy condemning gay people to hell to have any compassion.

This is NOT a phobia. It is simply hatred taught from an early age, just like racism.

What do we call it instead? I don;t know, but let’s stop adding the phobis part because it is just an excuse and a way to lessen the hatred.


4 Responses to “Today is International Day Against Homophobia”

  1. Jason said

    “You’ve got to be taught, to be afraid, of people whose eyes are oddly made, and people whose skin is a different shade, you’ve got to be carefully taught.”

    It makes you wonder if Hammerstein would have included “homophobia” had it been a prominent issue then.

    I, of course, agree with you 100% as we’ve discussed many times. Just like hatred against the Jews is anti-Semitism, I think anti-homosexual or anti-gay would be just as effective a term.

    Yes, there’s a fear involved for MANY people, but more often than not when people use the word homophobia they are talking about a hatred and anger rather than fear. Of course, it’s all pathetic and sad and says far more about the person showing those traits, but that’s another matter entirely.

  2. Susie said

    While I do agree with you for the most part, I feel like you’re placing a variety of different people into one category. Many homophobes (for lack of a better term so far), and possibly even most, are the type to make fun of gay people or beat them up, etc. But there are also homophobes who ARE afraid of gay people or simply believe being gay is wrong and avoid them at all costs but would never go out of their way to make their lives miserable. I’m not saying I agree with it or think it’s right or anything like that, but I do think that not everyone is an extremist. I know several people who are afraid of “the gay rubbing off on them” and would never go to a pride rally but at the same time practice an “I’ll live my life how I want and you live yours how you want” type of thing.

    Perhaps homoist would be a better word but it also sort of looks like “someone who practices the act of being a homo” so I guess it doesn’t really work either. And it looks like a combo of “ho” and “moist.”

    Also, you’ll be happy to know my work computer’s spell check doesn’t believe that homophobe is a word. 😉

    • Caitie F said

      You know what though? I have never actually met anyone who is afraid of gay people or the “gay rubbing off on them”. Maybe that is just more of a southern thing?

      And while they may exist, but there are WAY more of the hating gay people or thinking they are gross and wrong. I just think making the term into a phobia is messed up…even with those who are truly “afraid” because even that isn’t irrational…it is because of things they were taught.

      • Susie said

        I don’t really think it’s a Southern thing, just that you don’t associate with that kind of person. Not that I INTENTIONALLY do. It just kind of happened. They’re lovely people otherwise.

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