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homophobia


[ dictionary: glossary ]
  Warning: this is a loaded term.
Use of this term may cause miscommunication,
as it has different meanings based on who is saying it, and who is hearing it.

[ ho mo fo bee-ah ]
[

[ - ] Literally: 'fear of sameness' (f. the Greek words homo = 'the same', and -phobia (fobos)= 'fear of') ;
common usage is, instead, from an abbreviated form of "homosexaphobia" (a portmanteu of 'homosexuality' and 'phobia')

Homophobia is a neologism coined to reflect a theory that violence towards homosexuals was rooted in an irrational fear of homosexuality,
which in turn was a result of the "homophobic's" own homosexual urges.

Specifically, the word ''homophobia'' was first coined by psychologist George Weinberg in his book ''Society and the Healthy Homosexual'' in 1972.
A possible precursor was ''homoerotophobia'', coined by Dr [[Wainwright Churchill]] in ''Homosexual Behavior Among Males'' in 1967. Rapidly adopted and propogated by gay-normalization / gay-rights activists and advocates (groups and individuals), the term is now a commonly heard term in the discourse on "gay rights".

Unlike [[agoraphobia]] and some other [[phobia]]s, homophobia is not a psychiatric term. There is no such thing as ''clinical homophobia'',
as it relates to homosexuality.

The meaning of the term is ambiguous: it's meaning often overlaps with other gay-normalization terms such as '''heterosexism''', '''straight supremacism''' and '''gay-bashing'''.

The current definition of homophobia in a common dictionary [1] is:
    1. Fear of or contempt for lesbians and gay men.
    2. Behavior based on such a feeling.

The term has especially come to mean "any discrimination against homosexuals" in almost all public discourse (despite that fact that not all descrimination
against gays (or "GLBTs") is based on a phobia.)

The word is also sometimes used to mean 'any disapproval of homosexuality,' up to and including any statement which implies that heterosexual behavior
is better than / preferrable to homosexual behavior (see below).
It can also mean, more specifically, "any discrimination against, or persecution of, gays, lesbians, transexuals, etc..
When used in this way, the "consequences of homophobia" potentially include ''internalised homophobia'' or violence.

Despite its common usage, many people have a problem with the term. Some feel that it is not logically formed.
Others feel that it is an emotive word that is deliberately used for [[propoganda]] (advocacy) purposes. For example,
some gay-rights advocates at one point equated "homophobia" with ''straight supremacism'', a term meant to compare
hetrosexual bias to [[white supremacy | white supremacism]].

Proposals for resolving the issues with the term have included:

  •   Reserving the word "homophobia" for its less controversial usage as an "irrational hatred or fear of homosexuality",
    and referring to general opposition to or dislike of homosexuality, or to persecution of, or violence towards, homosexuals using some other
    words or phrases.

  • The use of a more morphologically correct term, such as sexualism:

    Most people who discuss the idea of prejudice against homosexual people use the term "homophobia" as a parallel to racism (bias or preference of one race to another, and resulting discrimination) or sexism (bias or preference of one sex to another, and resulting discrimination).

    Sexualism (bias or preference of one form of sexuality to another, and resulting discrimination) has therefore been proposed as an alternative which is more morphologically parallel, and which does not have the association with phobia. "Heterosexism" has also been proposed, but is morphlogically unsound, as it would mean "bias or preference of one form of homosexualism to another." (The term "homosexualism" is a rarely-used synonym of homosexuality.) Queer Theory uses the terms hetero-centric or heteronormativity to refer to a similar (but not equivalent) concept; a societal presupposition that heterosexuality is normal.

    However, some people believe that these alternatives are not more acceptable than the loaded-term "homophobia", as the debate over the acceptance of homosexual behavior is not conceptually equivalent to the historical debates over race or gender prejudice. The terms themselves are part of the debate, as the assumption (by association) of a term like 'sexualism' is that social equality for homosexuals is desireable and needed (in the same way that sexism and racism are used with the assumption that gender and race equality is desireable and needed). (Regardless of your own views on the subject, there is a sizable portion of the U.S. population that do not believe homosexuality should be normal, accepted, and viewed as equally desireable to society as heterosexuality.)

There is a charge that "homophobia" is one of a set of emotionally-charged or carefully chosen words (or phrases) that were created by Gay activists as part of the overall goal of normalizing and/or legitimizing homosexuality. Essentially, this argument claims that gay community gains the upper hand in the debate because they get to create the terms used in the debate. These words include:

homophobia (ad hominem)
Gender theory, gender studies (often a euphemism for Queer theory)
Heteronormativity (queer theory term)
Heterosexism (queer theory term)
Homosocial
Heterophobic ("Veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell described the plans as "heterophobic" and "retrograde".")
etc.

[ - ] Commentary / past versions from the Wikipedia article on the term (all comments have since been edited out of the article):

  •   The theory or charge of widespread "homophobia" is based on implications such as:
    'anyone arguing against homosexuality as "equivilant in status and value
    to hetrosexuality" (in other words, anyone exhibiting bias in sexual preference)
    must be suffering from a form of mental illness.'

  •   It has been observed that the terms ''homophobia'' and ''homophobic''
    have been used to blur the difference between those who actively fear and loathe homosexuals
    and those who merely disapprove of homosexuality. The assumption is that this blurring is deliberate,
    perhaps done in order to shame the latter into abandoning their disapproval. It is believed by some
    that use of the term is an ad homin attack (ad homin means, essentially, 'Discredit the person to discredit their argument').

  •   Some defenders of the term have stated (in many forums) that they believe the term is not illogical or misused,
    as they believe any opposition to homosexuality is "irrational" and must be rooted in fear (though, technically speaking,
    meeting these two criteria does not alone define a phobia.")

  •   Homosexuals or "Gay rights" activists rarely attempt to defend their thesis that everyone who finds homosexual behavior
    distasteful or morally wrong is being irrational, preferring instead to label the other parties 'homophobic'." Alternatively,
    the claim is made that "[intellectual arguments against homosexuality] have, as a rule, been added afterwards [by homophobes] to try to
    give the homophobia a nicer and more respectable framing
    ." [1]

  • Etymology

    The word homophobia is a neologism first coined by psychologist George Weinberg in his book Society and the Healthy Homosexual in 1972. It can be broken down into the Greek words homo meaning "the same" and phobia which means "fear". It may be seen as a portmanteau of homosexual and phobia. A precursor was homoerotophobia, coined by Dr Wainwright Churchill in Homosexual Behavior Among Males in 1967.


    Usage of the term
    The term homophobia usually implies irrational hatred and fear of homosexuals or homosexuality itself. Some people, especially in the gay rights movement, use the term to mean any sort of disapproval of homosexuality, whether subtle or explicit, unconscious or conscious, completely unreasoning or in some way principled. These advocates make no distinction between the two usages and consider all opposition to homosexuality irrational.

  • Some researchers believe that a more accurate term for negative attitudes toward homosexuals would be "homosexual-prejudice", (or "homo-prejudice"), since the connotations for this prejudice is similar to that regarding race and gender.
    + [http://archives.thedaily.washington.edu/1995/102795/hp.html]

  • {{ to http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Homophobia&diff=next&oldid=1188992 }}

See also:
John Boswell; Judith Butler ; Patrick Califia; Coming to Power; Gerhard Anna Concic-Kaucic ; Samuel R. Delany ; Queer literary interpretation ; Queer studies ; Queer theory ; Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick ; John Addington Symonds


[1] The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

[2] The Emotional Origin of Homophobia, Niclas Berggren (a gay author for "The Independant Gay Forum")

  


  
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..................................................................................................... 水 updates or minor modifications: 2005 Feb 14; 2005 June 26; 2005 Oct 14...........