Sunday, May 19, 2013
What is Homophobia? Internalized Homophobia
In keeping with the theme of my post for the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, I thought I'd check out a few links about homophobia and share them. Each web site is dedicated to homophobia for LGBT people in one way or another. Though some cover broad territory, they are all working hard to stop homophobia.
What is homophobia?
As defined by ADL, Anti-Defamation League, homophobia is put this way.
Homophobia is the hatred or fear of homosexuals - that is, lesbians and gay men - sometimes leading to acts of violence and expressions of hostility. Homophobia is not confined to any one segment of society, and can be found in people from all walks of life. Organized hate groups have viciously attacked homosexuals and have used especially violent language in attempting to persecute and intimidate them.
This web page gets into more detail, and there's a link to the ADL main web site at the top of the page where you can read tons of interesting articles. I'm going to link to them on my sidebar as soon as this post is up.
Straight People and Homophobia
This web site, Teaching Tolerance, which is a project of the southern poverty law center, talks about how straight people react to homophobia in various ways...and how it affects them. The site actually list ten different ways, and here's number six.
6. Homophobia prevents vital information on sex and sexuality to be taught in schools. Without this information, youth are putting themselves at a greater risk for HIV and other STDs.
This one is actually something I never even considered, but I get it. It makes sense. Due to a lack of information because school officials practice subtle forms of homophobia (and probably don't even know it; or have their own internalized homophobia, below) most kids aren't getting the facts about things they need to know. I would imagine some parents are guilty of this as well.
This web site talks about something a little different than what I've mentioned so far. It gets into the psychology of shame and homophobia gay people themselves experience. I have talked about this before on the blog. It involves the shame many LGBT people experience because of who they are. We all experience it at one point or another, which is why I think there's such a huge problem with anxiety and depression within the LGBT community. And sometimes we don't even realize it consciously.
They talk about what internalized homophobia actually is, and the shame that goes along with it, and then they list a few things from an almost behavioral POV.
1. Aggressive Denial. Some people feel so strongly that they should not be gay that they will repress their feelings and desires and speak out with some of the most hateful and homophobic language you will ever hear. You often see this happen with fundamentalist religious figures, like Ted Haggard. This never ends well. (Usually it ends with a gay sex scandal, talk show appearances and a lot more denial.) This is the worst kind of internalized homophobia because the hateful rhetoric and actions that these “aggressive deniers” exhibit really hurt other gay people and the movement.
We've all seen this more than once, and not just with public figures. It's a fascinating article I think most people who are gay can relate to. When you read that list at least one thing will hit home, trust me.
Once again, all these things above have prompted this Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia this week, so check out the link above to see what other bloggers are doing. There is also a chance to win prizes where you'll be provided with links and directions.