Views on homophobia

11 Dec

As a rather outspoken gay person, my views on homophobia often come as surprise to many people. I have never felt that homophobia was the hate of gay people or some strange fear of gay people as though we were some form of wraith that haunts peoples dreams. My views on homophobia are actually quite simple, and admittedly a view I truly wish more people held because I think it would go a long way to helping decrease what many people consider homophobia.

When taken at the value of its parts, homophobia is two words which mean “same fear” in the simplest of terms. Homophobia does not mean gay fear. The way this term came to be misused is because at one time it was far more common and socially acceptable to refer to gays as homos. With that being a commonly used term, the word phobia was paired with it to try to convey a feeling of dislike more so than fear. Homophobia was not a term that was coined in the clinical sense like homosexual was, but rather a term born of common daily usage which due to the way it sounds and looks when written became accepted by many as an actual clinical term. Language is full of such instances.

What homophobia is actually is the fear of being the same. In its truest sense it does not apply just to gays, but the fear anyone has of being the same as anything. A child that fears growing up to be just like his heterosexual father could therefore be considered homophobic in that sense. A teen girl that fears she is just another face in the crowd to the point it causes anxiety and becomes a phobia could just as easily be termed homophobic.

Extending on this train of thought, we have to examine the word as it used. People we term homophobic in the vast majority of cases are not homophobic at all. Certainly there are some isolated cases where an individual may actually have an irrational fear of a gay person, but that is not the norm. A person can be a homophobe in regards to homosexuality in that they have a fear of being gay them self. Although the distinction may seem like a fine line, in all reality it is like night and day. They identify a gay person and have a fear of being the same as that gay person based solely on their sexual orientation. Some may act upon that in a socially unacceptable way, but that is not homophobia, it is a byproduct of homophobia.

Personally I can understand and actually sympathize wiith true homophobia. Whenever the lines of sexuality become blurry to a person it can be a frightening thing. It isn’t easy to confront your emotions openly and rationally. When you look at it from the standpoint that a person whom identifies as heterosexual suddenly realizes they may have feelings which challenge their sexual orientation it can be frightening to the point a person fears they are true. Any time you challenge a persons most basic self identity the possibility for that exists. If they develop a fear of that because they refuse to confront it, that is sad for them, but a part of life. If they go a step further and act on it in a hateful, violent, or otherwise inappropriate manner that is sad for everyone.

Homophobia in both the truest clinical sense and loosest social terms will never end. There will always be misunderstandings and fears that drive people to fall into the category of homophobes whether it is correct or not. What we can do is understand there are different types of homophobes and that they behave differently in regards to this fear in many cases. Some are bad people, some are not, just the same as any group of people. Once we have done that, we can truly confront the issue and begin helping people heal. Homophobia in any sense is a sad part of life, but a part of life none the less.

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