Homophobia II

File:William Holman Hunt - Amaryllis.jpgSome people get steamed up about the word homophobia. They are not afraid of LGBT, they say. Well, OK, perhaps they are not. As a matter of tactics, we could stop using the word. There are others, after all. What about-

Prejudice. Our opponents have come to a position on us without knowing us. They have prejudged. They might have less wiggle-room to challenge the word “prejudice” than “homophobia”.

Lack of empathy. Not everyone feels disgust about the same thing, and so saying “That’s disgusting” rather than “I find that disgusting” betrays a lack of imagination. If you find two people holding hands disgusting rather than lovely or sweet, that says more about you than about them.

Meanness. You want your relationships recognised and privileged by the State, but not those of other folks. This is mean-spirited.

Judgmental. If you think gay lovemaking is a sin, don’t do it yourself. Don’t tell other people how they should live their lives.

Obsessive. There are blogs by straight people entirely devoted to the issue of LGBT rights- arguing LGBT rights are a bad thing. File:William Holman Hunt - The Birthday.jpgDon’t you have anything else to worry about? And if you find gay lovemaking disgusting, stop thinking about it. All sex is more or less weird. Or, complete loss of the sense of proportion: here is a bizarre fellow in a pink waistcoat who imagines that a candidate saying “homosexuality is normal” is, by itself, a reason not to vote for her.

Discourteous.

The problem is that “homophobia” is a word recognised by a majority of the population, but resented by a minority: some even call it a slur. So, if someone gets unduly het up, and denies feeling fear, the solution is simple: there are plenty of good simple descriptive words to apply to them. Tell them they fall below the standard expected of civilised human beings.

I got the idea for this post from Joshua R Ziefle, who asked for alternatives. Vera’s comment there illustrates the point perfectly: she is not fearful, she says, she “disagrees” with the “homosexual lifestyle”, as if there were only one. Fearful or not, she is certainly prejudiced. I suggested the new coinage antihomoïsm- from which I get antihomoïc, antihomote- but it is unnecessary.

11 thoughts on “Homophobia II

    • According to my Comments I’ve Made page he has not yet let it through, but he did comment I wore a pink vest to officiate at my niece’s wedding. I wore that to match her colors. Her heterosexual marriage is pleasing to God.

      Poor God, getting “displeased” all the time. Must be why he is so “Vengeful”.

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  1. My computer dictionary describes it as ‘an extreme and irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexual people’. I think that sums up the behaviour we see and read about nicely. Based on some of the cant I have read, I would be going for a word like homogyny to parallel misogyny as I think it can often verge on hatred. There are subtle levels of definition in categorising people, so sexism/sexist is for example, not as strong as homophobia. And while the phobia element of the word can be misleading, I think the fear of what homosexuality represents to a patriarchal society based on a monogamous (M/F) relationship is genuine.

    I didn’t understand Vera’s comment.

    I found Mr Pink Waistcoat obnoxious. Whether or not he is misogynist or not is open to debate but he is certainly sexist. As is most of America which is why Clinton lost out to Obama.

    The other Pink’s comment now has me wondering if heaven, like Hades, is also full of segregated groups and never the twain shall mix.

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    • It is probably not unique, but I came up with the idea of Heaven with villages for people who wanted everyone like them, towns where people could tolerate a little diversity, and cities as a cosmopolitan mix; and people moving between them.

      Vera’s argument is that she holds no hate or fear, but her “disagreement” with “a homosexual lifestyle” is no different from disagreements about whether you can smack a child. Her disagreement is legitimate, and you should tolerate her disagreement. That is quite a dangerous analogy, because people outlaw smacking with legislation. We interfere with parenting.

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      • That’s an interesting one Clare. It reflects real life though doesn’t it? Small town mentality comes to mind. Me, I like city life because of the mix, but I also like the country/village life where I am an outsider. However my Spanish village is regarded as strange, and the people who come from there are said to have three toes. I assume it is a Spanish saying that means they are not normal. I fell into the right village.

        So in a nutshell Vera is as prejudiced and bigoted as all the others. Now you point it out, it is quite a clever argument, because I recall she mentioned vegetarian v carnivorous diets. Does homosexuality cause harm or damage to anyone else? Not that I’m aware of, only in as much as there are some good-looking men who are unavailable to women, but that is a flippant point. Does eating meat cause harm to anyone else? No, but it isn’t very good for all the animals who are killed. So as you say, to draw parallels with dissimilar options is quite naughty.

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  2. This was one of your best … an absolute corker ! I have learned that so many homophobes (yes, let them choke on it) are basically insecure cowards. I happened to be walking to my little grocery store in Paris and noticed this skin-heads harassing a young gay guy. Well … we won’t have that ! So, as if I were some tough athlete. I hurled myself over there and barked at them (in French, of course), “What’s the matter with you? Do you have a problem? Because I can give you a problem with a quick call to the gendarmes.” And … off they ran down the street. The poor younger guy, just sort of slid down the wall and sat crying on the pavement. Of course, by then, with the skinheads gone, people were braver … and he even got a free pain au chocolat from the patisserie. Anyway … super post, Clare.

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