The word homophobic, when used to label someone as prejudiced against ... The label of internalized homophobia is sometimes applied to conscious or ...
Homophobia is the fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals. It can also mean hatred, hostility, or disapproval of homosexual people, sexual behavior, or cultures, and is generally used to insinuate bigotry. The term homophobic means "prejudiced against homosexual people," and a person who is homophobic is a homophobe.
The word homophobic, when used to label someone as prejudiced against homosexual people, can be a pejorative term, and the identification of a group or person as homophobic is nearly always contested.
- The word homophobia was rarely used early in the twentieth century to mean "fear or hatred of the male sex or humankind". In this use, the word derived from the Latin root homo (Latin, "man" or "human") with the Greek ending -phobia ("fear")
In its more recent usage, dating from 1969, "homophobia" derives from the -phobia ending applied, not to the Latin root "homo", but to a shortening of homosexual. (Here, homo comes not from the Latin for "man", but from the Greek for "same"; see homosexual.) The word first appeared in print in the American Time magazine, 31st October edition.It was used by clinical psychologist George Weinberg, who claims to have first thought of it while speaking at a homophile group in 1965, and was popularized by his book Society and the Healthy Homosexual in 1971. When asked about the meaning of the word in a 2002 interview, he said:
"Homophobia is just that: a phobia. A morbid and irrational dread which prompts irrational behavior flight or the desire to destroy the stimulus for the phobia and anything reminiscent of it."
Some recent psychological literature has suggested the term homonegativity, reflecting the perspective that behaviors and thoughts that are frequently considered homophobic are not fear-based but instead reflect a disapproval of homosexuality
What is Homophobia?
- The word homophobia means fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals. It can also mean hatred of and disparagement of homosexual people, their lifestyles, their sexual behaviors, or cultures, and is generally used to assert bigotry. Opposition to same-sex activism on religious, moral, or political grounds may also be referred to as homophobia.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word homophobia was originally used to mean "fear of men, or aversion towards the male sex". However, from 1969 the term has been more frequently used with its present meaning.
The first time it appeared in print was in the American Time magazine, where it was coined by clinical psychologist George Weinberg, who claims to have first thought of it while speaking at a homophile group in 1965, and popularized by his book Society and the Healthy Homosexual in 1971. It combines the Greek term phobos, meaning "fear" or "panic", and the root homo from the word "homosexual", which originates in the Greek word homos, meaning "the same". A possible etymological precursor was homoerotophobia, coined by Dr Wainwright Churchill in Homosexual Behavior Among Males in 1967.
Just as some people use the term "homophobia" to stress the association between prejudice and a fear or medical disorder, others Sexism, sexualism, heterosexism, heterosexualism, and "homosexualism" have been proposed as alternatives which are more morphologically parallel, and which do not have the association with phobia. Sexism refers to sexual discrimination and hatred and may be extended to include discrimination and hatred based on both sex and sexuality (sexual-identity/sexual-orientation/hypersexuality). Sexualism refers to hatred against homosexuals (gays/lesbians) and bisexuals. Heterosexism refers to hatred against people who are not heterosexual. Heterosexualism is an ambiguous term which is used either as a synomym for heterosexuality or heterosexism. The term "homosexualism" is a rarely-used synonym of homosexuality. Queer Theory and critical theory use the terms heterocentric and heteronormativity to refer to similar ontological assumptions.
There is also considerable debate over the term's usage as a label for opponents of certain categories of social policy, with the debate centering upon the question of whether such opposition is a legitimate moral stance or indefensible discrimination, and whether or not there are reasons other than fear and misunderstanding that might justify such positions. As in cases such as the Santorum controversy, many have alleged that the term is often used as a means of demonizing and silencing political opponents without regard to their actual motives; those on the other side of the debate argue that the motives in such cases are always connected with bigotry or fear.
Fear of being identified as a homosexual
A component considered to play into homophobia, as considered by some theorists, such as Calvin Thomas and Judith Butler, is an individual's fear of being identified as homosexual him or herself.
This notion suggests that when expressing homophobic viewpoints and emotions, the individual who does so is not only expressing his thoughts as to homosexuals, but also actively attempting to distance himself from this category and attributed social status. Therefore, by distancing him or herself from the people in question, he/she is reaffirming his/her role as a heterosexual, within heteronormativity, and contributing to the avoidance of his/her potential labeling and consequent treatment as a homosexual.
This interpretation plays into notions of violent opposition to "the Other" as a means of establishing one's identity as part of the majority and therefore, validated by society. This concept is also recurrent in interpretations of racism and xenophobia.
Many social and religious attitudes toward homosexuality are negative, which some might describe as a form of prejudice.
Some gender theorists interpret the fact that male-to-male relationships often incite a stronger reaction in a homophobic person than female-to-female (lesbian) as meaning that the homophobic person feels threatened by the perceived subversion of the gender paradigm in male-to-male sexual activity. According to such theorists as D.A. Miller, male heterosexuality is defined not only by the desire for women but also, and more importantly, by the denial of desire for men. Therefore, expressions of homophobia serve as a means of limiting those who they view as displaced in heteronormativity, and also of accenting their male nature, by isolating the threatening concept of their own potential feminity in gay men, and consequently belittling them, as not real males. They regard the reason male homosexuality is treated worse compared to female homosexuality as sexist in its underlying belief that men are superior to women and therefore for a man to "replace" a woman during intercourse with another man is his own subjection to (non-male) inferiority.
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant and proof checked by Charity Whisnant