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The term implies that, rather than reacting to anti-gay rhetoric, homosexuals and gay rights advocates are in fact speaking out against heterosexuality and heterosexuals. This phraseology attempts to equate the fight against bigotry with bigotry itself. (However, since in the Greek heterophobia can be translated as "fear of difference", it is somewhat ironic that the anti-gay position could in fact be called heterophobic. However, as homoerotophobia could mean "fear of homosexuals", heteroerotophobia could be expressed to mean "fear of heterosexuals".)
The same "logic" would suggest that a Ku Klux Klansman is not racist; rather, African Americans are racist for despising a Klansman's "white pride". Or that people against the Nineteenth Amendment aren't sexist, but women are sexist to men for supporting the amendment.
 Persecution Complex
Usage of the term "heterophobic" or "heterophobia" by anti-gay groups falls into the wider pattern of the persecution complex, in which groups criticized for their tendency to create hate and discrimination react by reframing their discriminatory tendencies as some value-neutral idea, and then suggesting that criticism of this reframed idea constitutes discrimination.
Thus, racism becomes "white pride," and the marginalized racist claims that his "heritage" is being sidelined unjustly through "reverse racism." Similarly, homophobia is simply a deeply-held fundamentalist Christian value, and disrespecting this value by granting equal rights to homosexuals constitutes religious discrimination.
 Deconstructing the Persecution Complex: What Are Individual Rights?
The misunderstanding inherent in this use of the persecution complex goes to the basic definition of the rights of the individual. While equally-situated individuals have the right to be treated equally (the antidiscrimination principle), no-one has a right to institutionalize legal discrimination against an innocent group, no matter how much they want to, and no matter what "values" this goal of discrimination is based upon. Thus, "persecution" of discriminators is justified.
Furthermore, anti-gay groups can often be heard bleating about "special rights" given to homosexuals, or that homosexuals are a "protected group" under equality legislation (this argument is a favourite of Ron Paul's ). However, what the poor old conservatives fail to see is that "sexual orientation" is something that everyone has, and such legislation also protects straight people from being discriminated against on the same grounds, as uncommon as that may be. Instead, conservatives who oppose equality legislation see it as some kind of attack on their identity, and cry about how no-one ever gave them "special rights," blissfully unaware of their own privilege.
Put another way, the individual has the right to do anything that does not infringe upon the rights of others. Unjust discrimination infringes upon another's rights, and is thus not a right that should be valued.
 Separatist feminism
A few lesbian feminists could be referred to as heterophobic, as well as being misandrist, as they are overtly opposed to joining the at-large heterosexual society (at least as long as they consider it male-supremacist) on the grounds that women who engage in any familial or working relations with men "betray their lesbian sisters."
 See also
- Het is Ew, TV Tropes