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"Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 08:52 AM   #1
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"Homophobia": The right term?

A comment by donheff concerning homophobia in the "PBS Boomer" thread got me thinkig. Rather than derail that discussion . . .

When someone makes an anti-gay remark, they (or the remark) is typicaly categorized as "homophobic." Does anyone else find that this confuses the issue? "Homophobia" = "fear of homosexuality." In most cases these comments are not indicative of fear concerning homosexuals or homosexuality, but instead contain value judgements about this behavior or homosexuals themselves. We don't say soemone is"afrophobic" or "Catholiphobic"-- we say they are anti-Black or anti-Catholic.

The problem:
-- It ascribes a motive without proving it. How do we know the comment is based on fear of gays? That's not apparent, and it's not helpful in addressing the issue. The comment could be based on fear, but it's just as likely to be based on moral teachings he/she has received, by a "gut rejection" of the behavior that even the speaker doesn't claim to understand, etc. In any case, the author's underlying mental state and motivation for making the comment generaly are not significant to the debate, or should be called out separately.
-- It lets the author of the comment off the hook. If someone has a true phobia, (which, by definition is an "irrational fear" of something), then we generally hold that person to a different standard on that issue. If I know a person is afraid of flying, then I don't expect him to feel the same way as i do as we board an airplane. And, as we have already agrreed the fear is irratonal, there's no point in reasong with the individual about this issue. So, if you believe those with ant-gay views should be confronted, it seems more consistent to label the comment with something that doesn't confer victimhood status on the author of it.

Anyway, it seems "anti-gay" or "anti-homesexual" is a more appropriate label than "homophobic," unless we are talking about a true clinical condition.
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 09:12 AM   #2
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

Well, these days folks are QUICK to stereotype someone............. :P

Homophobic to me means you basically freak out if a gay person talks to you or anything...........that seems very LAME............. :P

I guess my approach is "to each their own".............

It was interesting to meet all of my sister's friends who are "partners". At her memorial, there were two male couples and a female couple, and they are some of the nicest most compassionate people I've ever met. They helped me out a TON with helping pack up her house, etc, I owe them a bunch!


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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 09:16 AM   #3
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

How about "sh!thead?" Or maybe "biggot?"
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 09:37 AM   #4
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

An interesting point, samclem, that I had not thought of. It made me look a little. According to Wiktionary in usage notes for homophobia, "Along with some other terms ending in -phobia, homophobia (in its extant sense) refers to an antipathy rather than a fear, although it can be said that homophobia is motivated by fear."

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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 10:32 AM   #5
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

Good point but I believe that there are strong ties between fear and hatred. For example, xenophobia is the fear of foreigners and there is seems to be a hatred of "them" getting things that they don't "deserve". And cockroach phobia always seems to be attached to an urge to destroy them.
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 11:14 AM   #6
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

even words containing root meanings change with use over time.

from my gay point of view, homophobia perfectly describes anyone derailing gays and in no way lets the profaner off the hook.

while most phobias are likely irrational, someone afraid to fly doesn't have as much of a choice about getting nervous as someone afraid of sexuality has of expressing their fear in a negative way towards others.

from my experience, it seems apparent to me that anyone who is comfortable with their being straight--regardless of their sprituality or so-called morality--will not be uncomfortable with anyone else being gay. homophobes seem to be the most uptight, unsure & insecure people fearing even their own sexuality.
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 11:44 AM   #7
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

Interesting point Samclem. I don't have any answers, only hunches. I agree with Coach that the word has come to mean "irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals" as described in Merriam Webster's online dictionary. Thinking back over the years, I suspect that was intentional. IIRC the term did initially connote fear. Back in the late 60s early 70s I remember a lot of gays and straight supporters would taunt anti-homosexual bigots as being fearful, closet gays -- homophobes. The practice used to irritate the hell out of people who wanted to argue that they were not bigots - homosexuality was just, plain morally wrong. But that was the precisely the point - if they would get embarrassed by raised eyebrows maybe they really were homophobic. Over time the term itself morphed to include aversion, or discrimination.

Edit: the term in use then was "latent homosexual." I don't hear it often anymore but it was easy to get a rise out of "homophobes" with it back in the day
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 12:14 PM   #8
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

Not to get Freudian, but my guess as to how this usage came about is that frequently excessive, irrational hostility masks an individual's own fear and self-loathing that they may themselves harbor some of the very traits they are attacking. It's a way of dealing with their own "demons" by externalizing it on others.

So, for example, a heterosexual man who has had fleeting homosexual thoughts or incidents may outwardly display hostility toward gays as a way of smothering his own poorly understood feelings in that realm. Or someone with fear of loneliness or abandonment might learn to hate crowds and develop agoraPHOBIA.

Hence, homoPHOBIA.
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 12:21 PM   #9
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

Do homosexuals experience heterophobia?
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 12:25 PM   #10
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

Ray Cohn, McCarthy's bulldog, comes to mind.
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 01:32 PM   #11
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
Do homosexuals experience heterophobia?
Yes. They express it by referring to them as breeders.
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 02:18 PM   #12
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

samclem,
I think piegon holing a person as homophobic does not add to understanding beneficial dialog - name calling usually never does. Clinical analysis should be left to professionals.

I usually ignore such posts.

Have you ever met a person I call "The newly Aware". They have a little knowelge and are the first to to berate someone with it. It is funny when they are wrong. I was having dinner with a person who was "Newly Aware" I ordered Mahi-mahi and was then told I was wrong for eating dolphin. Nothing I could say would convince this person that I was not eating Flipper.

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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 03:34 PM   #13
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
So, for example, a heterosexual man who has had fleeting homosexual thoughts or incidents may outwardly display hostility toward gays as a way of smothering his own poorly understood feelings in that realm.
and yet i've never had a fleeting heterosexual thought. in fact, this past week my buddy's belly dancing friend kept rubbing her tit on me in attempt, i presume, to turn me on. that tit had its hands all over me. talk about scarey. no wonder i'm gay.

ok, this is just a joke, don't get all homophobic on me: what's the difference between a str8 man and a gay one? 3 beers. ever notice how beer never turned a gay man str8?
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 04:01 PM   #14
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

I remember in college in Hawaii I was good friends with the one openly gay guy in the doorms. Bobby was from a very wealthy family and he let me drive his corvette all the time, even took it on a weekend trip with a girlfriend to a resort. Rumors flew about us at first, but it seemed the fact that my cage couldn't get rattled was ample enough evidence to dampen them - or maybe I just wasn't fun since I wasn't given them a reaction. I think often it's a maturity issue, adolecents have raging hormones and are still insecure and defining themselves. There is great comfort in "I'm A, not B" at that age, I guess. Bobby impressed me in that he managed to develop a very large friend group and seemed to win over some initially "homophobic" types by the end of the semester. Still some lingering comments among the machismo types, who happened to be the native Hawaiians (not sure if this is cultural or a coincidence, too small a sample size).
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 04:09 PM   #15
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
ok, this is just a joke, don't get all homophobic on me: what's the difference between a str8 man and a gay one? 3 beers. ever notice how beer never turned a gay man str8?
Interesting joke. But why does it work? Is getting hit on by drunk "straight" guys a not uncommon experience? Or something else?

Not picking a fight, just curious.

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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 04:34 PM   #16
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

What is interesting is how many 'politically correct' people will QUICKLY say they are not gay if they are asked... and in such a manner that 'why would you insult me by even SUGGESTING that I might be?'.... Something like "Of course I am not gay... though I have nothing against them"....

BTW, I don't have a problem with the true religious people who OPPOSE gays... they are doing it from a moral standing.. that is as long as they don't discriminate.. kind of got a general in trouble a few weeks ago, but that was his thoughts and beliefs..
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 04:40 PM   #17
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

um, i think fear actually has a lot to do with it. the majority of straight guys i know are freaked out (overtly or privately) and often openly still make jokes about gay folks (usually men, but women too)...it's not as kosher to do but still is done pretty often. while a portion of the population has evolved, many have not...

and if you ever saw boys don't cry - you know the fear is deep seeded and results in violence (in that case gender and sexual orientation mixed together)...for now it's still a useful term in my book.
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 04:54 PM   #18
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Still some lingering comments among the machismo types, who happened to be the native Hawaiians (not sure if this is cultural or a coincidence, too small a sample size).
yes, perhaps it was too small a sample size. that can often be the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach
Interesting joke. But why does it work? Is getting hit on by drunk "straight" guys a not uncommon experience? Or something else?
why does the joke work. ok, well, i can give you my theory but you're not going to like it.

when i put my hand down my pants i feel just what i was expecting. when i want to fantasize about a man all i have to do is put my hand down and i'm there. but when a str8 man puts his hand down his pants and he wants to fantasize, he's got all the wrong equipment. this might explain why more cross dressers are str8 than gay (i'm talking cross dressing for sexual activity, not for pride parades).

str8s call us twisted, but in order for a str8 man to be by himself and fantasize about a female, he has to somehow be able to touch himself while bringing the female to mind. that must be exhausting. no wonder only str8 people get old. similarly, when sex is gay, relating to each other is str8 foward. but when the sex is str8 it is actually twisted because the man has to relate not to a man (to himself) but to a woman (who is not himself) and visa versa. how can you get her off if you can not think like a woman or even be a woman inside youself? how else would you relate? and if you are not relating to the woman then you might as well be screwing a knothole. gays, on the other hand, just have to relate to themselves. we remain men inside & out. so, in this light, str8s are the ones who are queer. but we'll never call you that.

as to getting hit on by drunk str8 guys, let's face it: drunk guys are horny guys and drink releases inhibitions. in my youth, i got hit on by "str8" married guys all the time, seriously at least a few times each week. it wasn't until i grew up some that i realized, "hey, wait a minute. she gets the house and all i get is d*ck? screw that!"

just this last weekend in a hotel room with my drunk, born again str8 friend (tell me about it), homophobia reared its ugly head. i never made a single move for this guy. he didn't even turn me on when he was young a better looking. yet at about 2 in the morning, while we were watching tv just in from the bars, he decides he has to call one of his church friends for some heterosexual reassurance. at 2 in the morning. nice guy, but what a freak.

homophobia has nothing to do with the homo. it has to do with the fear.
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 06:50 PM   #19
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

Religion is for old ladies of both sexes Lazy.

Whenever you encounter the term "born again", treat the entity "certifiable nutter."
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?
Old 03-29-2007, 06:54 PM   #20
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Re: "Homophobia": The right term?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
why does the joke work. ok, well, i can give you my theory but you're not going to like it.
I think it works because alcohol lowers inhibitions, and most guys are not trained to be inhibited about expressing heterosexual feelings, except to the minimal level demanded by polite society (wolf whistles frowned upon, etc.). And for that matter, alcohol lowers even those more limited heterosexuality-related inhibitions, too.

Quote:
when i put my hand down my pants i feel just what i was expecting. when i want to fantasize about a man all i have to do is put my hand down and i'm there. but when a str8 man puts his hand down his pants and he wants to fantasize, he's got all the wrong equipment. this might explain why more cross dressers are str8 than gay (i'm talking cross dressing for sexual activity, not for pride parades).
I have to think there is a bigger difference between self-stimulation and being with another, regardless of the gender of the other. I mean, do most people really get excited by their own equipment? Think about trying to tickle oneself, for example. But it is true that straight guys probably have more work cut out on average to understand what makes their partner tick (with standard caveat that everyone is different), and the empathy required may drive some of that cross-dressing.
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