Sunday, 10 June 2007



Homophobia, a widely and frequently used term. But do we really understand the genuine and serious consequences homophobia can have on those of us who openly and proudly live our lives with a partner, or without.

Homophobia is described as an irrational fear or discrimination against homosexual individuals and/or homosexuality. Generally, it is used to describe people who dislike, hate or are prejudice towards to gay, lesbian or bisexual community (and in many instances all of them).

There is a general debate as to whether transgender phobia should fall within the scope of homophobia, because some people see this as a denial of the unique and very serious prejudice and obstacles transgender men and women face.

However, some individuals (who are opposed to homosexuality) feel that the term homophobia is incorrect. The Concerned Women for America (a conservative lobby group) stated that homophobia is a “deceptive term…. used by pro-gay proponents to confuse the issue and control the debate”, as it infers that any opposition to homosexuality or homosexuals as illogical.

A certain sense of homophobia can also be seen within non-gay or heterosexual young individuals who fear being associated as homosexual. It is generally used as an insult or reduction of a young man’s masculinity. Jokes about one of the individuals being “gay” is thrown about and can lead to an exaggerated need to prove “manliness” or masculinity to the rest of the group.

Public homophobia

In South Africa, during the High Court trial arguing the right for same sex partners to have a legal marriage there was a hot and lively debate under the “conservative” factions (including religious and political associations) regarding the “unnaturalness” and “sinfulness” of homosexuality.

The following statement was made publicly just after the High Court ruled that the Marriage Act was discriminatory for referring to male and female specifically (and not to a spouse) the following statement was made Doctors for Life's John Smyth:

“Same sex marriages lacked the same values as heterosexual marriages because they were physically and emotionally unnatural and had no innate ability to procreate.”

"Will all sexual practices be acceptable as long as it is between consenting persons? One example is whether consensual necrophilia (sex with a corpse) will be acceptable? What about incest, bestiality, masochism and even hypoxyphilia? The right to sexual orientation is not absolute and under certain conditions the government has the right to overrule the rights of individuals."

An ignorant and small minded statement to make, perhaps. But also a statement that is dangerous in its ability to incite violence and hatred towards the gay, lesbian and bisexual community.

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