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Is There Something You Want to Say to the World?

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Homophobia [Jan. 7th, 2008|11:03 am]
Is There Something You Want to Say to the World?

thelexicon

[ghoststrider]
The word "homophobia" (and it's offspring, "homophobe") and it's use in modern society confuse me. Most people, when they call someone a "homophobe", mean "You're a racist douchebag who hates homosexuals for no reason." But let's look at the word. "Homo" is pretty obvious; this relates to homosexuality. "Phobia" means fear. So it means "fear of homosexuality", if taken literally. Yet most people think it means "racist" or "anti-gay". Fear ≠ racism. While they can be connected, they are not necessarily one and the same.

Think about it. What about the person who has a genuine fear of gay people? Some sort of chemical instability in the brain, just like a person who has arachnophobia or agoraphobia? Should they be treated as "racist bastards?" I don't think so. They just need medication.

There should be a different word used for people who hate gays. Homophobia should be restricted to just those people afraid of homosexuals, whether their reasoning is irrational or not.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: batshua
2008-01-07 08:07 pm (UTC)
Hate often stems from fear.
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[User Picture]From: ghoststrider
2008-01-07 11:34 pm (UTC)
Yes, but that doesn't make "homophobia" the proper word to use. Maybe "homoangst"--no, that really isn't it, either? What's Greek for anger or hatred?
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[User Picture]From: batshua
2008-01-08 03:59 am (UTC)
Don't know offhand, sorry.
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[User Picture]From: queenlyzard
2008-01-13 09:00 pm (UTC)

words don't always mean their literal definitions

Yeah... in a case like this, I'm not sure there's much difference between hate and, well, let's call it "phobia" rather than fear, because phobia implies an irrational aversion to something, a response that is usually something beyond mere fright (watch someone who's arachnaphobic smashing a spider to bits and you'll see what I mean).

And I think all homophobes hate homosexuals because they are afraid-- of the people, of the concept; of what it represents and how it threatens their world view, their vision of what society should be like. I've never met anyone who hated gays without considering them a "threat" in some way.
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[User Picture]From: ghoststrider
2008-01-13 09:14 pm (UTC)
So if you have a clinical phobia to homosexuals, one that results from a chemical imbalance or whatnot, are you then a sexist? (Or racist, or whatever?)
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[User Picture]From: queenlyzard
2008-01-13 11:58 pm (UTC)

I have to challenge your question itself...

Well, yes. All racists (sexists, whatever) could be defined as having a mental disorder, in that thinking about a group of people causes them to become irrationally agitated. There may be a mitigating circumstance (traumatic experiences with members of that group in the past, for example, or just generalized anxiety disorder which makes them overreact to anything they find frightening)...

But there's no such thing as a "chemical imbalance" (or genetic condition, or whatever) that would cause someone to hate/fear one specific group of people. Don't let anyone try to use mental illness as an excuse for bigotry.
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[User Picture]From: ghoststrider
2008-01-14 12:32 am (UTC)

Re: I have to challenge your question itself...

I'm not using it as an excuse for bigotry. I'm just saying it doesn't fit at all with other accepted uses of the -phobia suffix, and therefore a different word should be used. I mean, come on, how hard is it to call someone "anti-gay?"
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[User Picture]From: queenlyzard
2008-01-14 03:21 am (UTC)

Re: I have to challenge your question itself...

*laughs* I see what you mean... although "xenophobia" (Fear of Other) is sometimes used synonymously with racism, especially in the context of a newly encountered group. But yes, it would be good to have a term for "anti-gay" that ended in "ism" like the rest of them. "Sexism" is already taken... maybe "sexualitism"? Or "orientationism" perhaps. Those are a bit clumsy... but the others (sex-ism, race-ism, able-ism) are all formed by the word for the topic itself plus "ism"... so maybe "loveism" ("philism"? "erotism"?) would work to mean "judgment based on love".
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[User Picture]From: ghoststrider
2008-01-14 03:34 am (UTC)

Re: I have to challenge your question itself...

Well, I do know there is "heterocentrism", which is like "ethnocentrism" and sort of says that heterosexuality is superior or "normal".
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