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Homophobia is the irrational fear or hatred of homosexuality, non-heterosexual people, or anything or anybody that deviates from a strictly normative heterosexual approach to sexuality and sexual identity.
Homophobia is common in both the developing and developed worlds. Examples of this range from laws prohibiting gays to marry or adopt children, to hate crimes committed against homosexuals to the hateful and violent lyrics of some Jamaican reggae performers (notably Buju Banton) and the criminal codes of many African and Middle Eastern nations.
"Homophobia ... was defined as an emotional or affective response including fear, anxiety, anger, discomfort, and aversion that an individual experiences in interacting with gay individuals, which may or may not involve a cognitive component."
 Rationalizations of homophobia
Homophobes use several different arguments against homosexuality. Here are some rational responses for some of them:
 "It's not natural"
This is an inherently weak and uncogent objection. This argument is a blatant rendition of the naturalistic fallacy, as it assumes that what is natural is acceptable or better and what is unnatural is not. What this would entail logically is that adultery, infanticide and cannibalism must be acceptable as they are "natural," while playing checkers, sleeping on a bed, and indeed cooking meat are not "natural" and thus unacceptable. Most homophobic persons typically do not advocate creating laws outlawing things such as sleeping on beds, not to mention that using computers isn't natural either — yet homophobes clearly use computers since their hate sites exist.
Moreover, even if it did logically follow that homosexuality could be seen as wrong by virtue of it being unnatural, being "gay" would still technically have to cease to be considered wrong because homosexuality is observed in nature; biologists have extensively documented "gay" behavior in over 500 species of animals and observed it in a total of 1,500 species of animals. Bonobos, for example, are known for indulging in almost any "perversion" humanity has thought up - and perhaps some we've missed out on. Mammals aren't the only kind of animal that do this either.
 "It's a perversion"
This is simply a variation of the "It's not natural" argument. It implies that being gay is a mental disorder even though there is no evidence to support such a claim. Meanwhile, some fundamentalists claim that homosexuality is a creation of the devil, however given the lack of evidence of the existence of Satan, this is not a very convincing argument. It is also a little confusing, because apparently their God created everything.
G.B Shaw's Man and Superman has the lovely line "Chastity is the most unnatural of perversions."
 "It's against God's law"
Before we try to address this issue: Why do the infidels have to pay attention to your God? Then comes the double standard of saying that Freedom of religion does not apply to those people, or that separation of church and state does not really exist.
Conservative Christians claim that God condemns homosexuality, but Jesus actually never brought the subject up, as it was apparently not very high on his list of important things to do or not do. While this argument may be relevant for some religious practitioners, it has no relevance to those people who read Scripture in a more accommodating fashion, or who simply do not believe in God.
It is interesting that the strongest religious criticisms of homosexuality (at least in Western countries) usually come from Christians, but Jesus Christ himself is not recorded as saying anything whatsoever about homosexuality. Biblical condemnations of homosexuality come from the Old Testament (specifically Leviticus) and later apostles such as St Paul.
 "It's disgusting" (unless it's two hawt chicks macking on one another)
This is simply a value judgment which has no weight outside the mind of the person expressing it. Many people consider that images of heterosexual sex, for instance heterosexual couples engaging in intercourse in the missionary position for the sole purpose of procreation, are also disgusting. We can assume though that God is fine with lesbians. There's no mention of female homosexuality in the Bible. Some fundamentalists, however, would claim Romans 1:26 is a condemnation of lesbianism, but the claim rests on a very shaky foundation, as the full context of the passage seems to be more of a condemnation of shrine prostitutes than of lesbians.
 "It allows corruption, or sexual abuse, in single-sex communities"
Some communities are sensitive to corruption due to sexual relationships, or sexual abuse. How is that problem solved? Gender separation rules out the opportunities for heterosexual relationships. But to rule out homosexual relationships, the gays must be thrown out, too. The Boy Scouts of America is an example. The Catholic Church also intends to end sexual abuse by throwing out homosexuals.
The problem is that sexual abuse is very different from consensual sexual relationships. Prison rapists are usually not gay, though they are men who have sex with men.
 "Marriage has a traditional, ancient definition"
- Further information: Same-sex marriage
Homophobes might say that marriage is an ancient institution, clearly defined as a union between man and woman. They ignore that Christian and other communities have condoned polygamy, forced marriage and child marriage, and in some cases banned interracial or inter-religious marriage.
Many conservatives claim that extra-marital sexual relationships are sinful. So if same-sex marriage is not allowed, all homosexual activities would be sinful, by definition.
Homophobes might say that gay marriage would ruin the sanctity of straight marriage, without explaining how this would occur.
Straight people have softened up straight marriage themselves, by allowing divorce, unregistered cohabitation and de-criminalization of adultery. And many years later, when some gays want to marry, they get the blame for ruining straight marriage.
 "Homosexuality might encourage other perversions"
Homophobes might claim that acceptance of homosexuality might be a gateway to acceptance of pedophilia, zoophilia, incest or other perversions, in the same manner as public acceptance of Earl Grey tea is a gateway to public acceptance of heroin. That is a Slippery slope fallacious argument; in other words, Bullshit. In the past, pederasty was a major form of homosexuality in Western culture, especially ancient Greece and Rome (and likely fueled some of the early Christians' animus against it), but today's gay communities have made a radical break with the past and have come to condemn pederasty and other such acts.
 "Homosexuals choose to be that way"
Homophobes often claim that those living the "gay lifestyle" have simply chosen to be gay.
This could be correct for the particular individual making this argument. However, in order for it to be correct, every single person making this argument must, by definition, be bisexual. As any homosexual or heterosexual person of reasonable intelligence and self awareness knows, they are attracted to either men or women, and can exercise very little choice about this. Bisexuals find themselves attracted to both men and women. As such, if a person can choose to only act on their attraction to men (or women), then logically either one is possible for them, making them not a heterosexual or homosexual, but a bisexual.
Thus, everyone who makes the argument that homosexuality is a choice is at least a little bit gay (and there is nothing wrong with that).
Also curious and rarely discussed is why this should even be relevant; it's not as though societies routinely ban behaviors just because they appear to be choices rather than innate and inflexible preferences, whatever that distinction can be said to mean in an apparently deterministic universe. Blind to their own irony, the same people who revile the gays with the non-argument that homosexuality is a "choice" and thus wrong (...implying that it'd be okay if it weren't, as most evidence suggests?) are often very pleased to attempt to inflict a distinctly choice-based religious lifestyle on anyone who'll sit still and listen to their crazy, and not a one of them ever flips on his gay switch to show us just how easy it is to swap boning preferences.
 Sexually transmitted infections
STIs are indeed a public health problem. However, most homosexuals are not infected. And most know how to protect themselves. Just like straight people. It is simply not a problem unique to homosexuality. Also, there are STIs that are exclusive to, or more common, in straight relationships, such as the papilloma virus.
If one is to believe Warren J. Blumenthal, homophobic conservatives might well be shooting themselves in the foot: "Anti-gay bias causes young people to engage in sexual behavior earlier in order to prove that they are straight. Anti-gay bias contributed significantly to the spread of the AIDS epidemic. Anti-gay bias prevents the ability of schools to create effective honest sexual education programs that would save children's lives and prevent STDs."
 Tax money for LGBT services
Some governments fund LGBT festivals, LGBT education for government employees, condoms, or other services to benefit sexual minorities.
Well, government spending could always be subject to debate, but this spending in no way makes homosexuality, itself, a problem; if homosexuals were treated equally by having had their rights, the services wouldn't be necessary. Furthermore, there are not separate "gay" and "straight" economies: both are part of a wider thing generally known as "the economy". Governments and tax agencies do not employ people to ensure that the taxes paid by heterosexuals only go into programs targeted at sexual minorities, so it is definitely not a matter of "straight" money going to homosexuals.
And if we were only concerning government cost, wouldn't putting homosexuals on trial, and sending them to prison, be much more expensive?
How about the tax money that goes to orphanages and public schools? Isn't that directing tax money, including that paid by homosexual people, towards the results of heterosexual procreation? Comes to show this is kind of a hypocritical point of view when you don't see homosexual people protesting this.
 "Homosexuals are promiscuous"
First, even if this were universally true and demonstrable with convincing evidence (which it clearly isn't), it wouldn't mean anything. Promiscuity is not a vice in and of itself, unless you're religious and want to force everyone else to be just as miserable as you.
Second, while some homosexual communities encourage casual sex, some straight communities do too. Meanwhile, some homosexuals prefer life-long, monogamous relationships. Gays are just different from each other, just like straight people are.
 Anal sex
Many homophobic jokes and arguments center around anal sex. Male-on-male anal sex seems to matter more to homophobes than to homosexual men. There are some health issues with penile-anal penetration, but these also apply to male-on-female anal fun, which is popular among some young Christians but which is usually not condemned in the same way. Furthermore, many gay men don't do anal sex anyways. Due to the invention of that newfangled piece of technology known as the "strap-on," straight female-on-male anal sex is also possible and regularly indulged in.
 Arguments about children and reproduction
 "Homosexuality is not reproductive"
Most sexual encounters in the Western World today are non-reproductive. These include barrier birth control, biochemical birth control, fertility awareness, non-penetrative sex, sex with sterilized people, sex with less fertile people (due to old age or other reasons), and homosexuality.
Homosexual couples also commonly do something that is arguably more humanitarian that procreating new people: they adopt children. There is also no requirement to make new people anyway, and a growing childfree movement against the entrenched emphasis on family and reproduction, while the world's population is still increasing. Does the planet desperately need more reproductive sex that badly?
 "Children need a male and a female role model"
A child has many opportunities to find role models; they don't need to be legal guardians of the child. Children to full-time working parents spend more time awake in daycare and school than with their parents. It should also be noted that, despite insistence that having both a male and female parent is vital for child development, homophobes will typically have less problems with single parents raising children.
 "Children should be raised by their biological parents"
There is little convincing evidence to back up this somewhat arbitrary claim as a child's development is determined by the relationship and interactions with a parent, rather than pure genetic relationship. There are also many orphans who cannot be raised by their biological parents and a shortage of adopters. Stable homosexual couples provide a new pool of potential adopters prepared to raise these children in a loving environment - one that is probably better, in fact, than what their biological parents may have provided. It is exclusively the case that homosexual couples adopt or have a surrogate baby that is planned, and so the idea of an accidental and unplanned child isn't actually possible. So in a statistical sense, therefore, homosexual parents will be older, more responsible and far more ready to cope with and provide for a child on average.
 "The law of fatherhood is not applicable to same-sex couples"
In many jurisdictions, the fatherhood is commonly handed to the mother's husband. Same-sex couples don't function that way. But this can be solved by consensual agreements between the breeders. It's not like they will fertilize by accident, if they are homosexuals.
 "All of the above"
The "everything including the kitchen sink" approach is exemplified by a speech that Iowa State Senator Dennis Guth gave in April 2013 in which he accused homosexuals and homosexuality of breeding mental health problems, shortening people's life spans, causing health problems for straight Americans (by causing "more and more medical tests required before giving blood or giving birth", though what precautionary blood tests have to do with spreading disease is a mystery) and other phenomena, including the downfall of past civilizations due to the failure of traditional marriage. Unsurprisingly, Guth is a freshman Senator and will be up for election again in 2014 so this might explain the reasoning behind such a speech.
 Roots of homophobia
The Freudian view has been that the most virulent homophobia is expressed by those who cannot accept their own homosexuality. Indeed such a link has been demonstrated in at least one clinical study (Adams et al 1996). However, a later study noted that Adams et al points out the possibility of the role of anxiety in sexual arousal and found an aversion to homosexual imagery in homophobes. The validity of penile plethysmographs for use in psychological testing has also been called into question. Openly virulent homophobes may indeed be overcompensating for their own homosexuality, though the high profile incidents of said homophobes being outed has likely led to a spotlight effect. A similar type of overcompensation that has also been theorized is the idea of masculine overcompensation. In this case, the strongest forms of homophobia do not arise from repressed feelings of homosexuality but from threats to masculine identity. However, research has also shown that the belief that homosexuality is biologically determined and thus immutable reduces homophobic attitudes.
Sadly, if these latent feelings are forced into the open the outcome can be tragic. So called "gay panic" may lead to violence, or worse, and has even been used as a defense in murder trials, with varying degrees of success.
 Homophobia around the world
 United States
Homophobia is the irrational fear of homosexuality that leads people to deny homosexuals the basic rights guaranteed them by the Constitution of the United States and as expressed in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Supporters of homophobic propositions, such as the Defense of Marriage Act, often attempt to delegitimize homosexuality by arguing either that it is a voluntary stance or that it is based purely on lust. Or they may pick from the myriad of quite obviously logical arguments above.
Many opponents take it further citing a conspiracy theory they dub "the gay agenda", which is the belief that gays and liberals are plotting to use things like the public school system and Hollywood movies to turn every child in the United States into homosexuals.
Some go so further they turn up the dial to 11. For example: some advocates of firearms, besides arguing they should be totally free to exercise their second amendment rights, will often point to the gay agenda as a reason to own a gun. After all, how else will people be able to effectively fight back against the villainous gays that will force them to become homosexuals?
Most of the developed world has moved away from the blatant, institutionalized homophobia that used to pervade it. Sadly America is one of the few developed countries that has a limp and is having a hard time catching up. In many states it is still wholly legal to discriminate against Homosexuals or deny them rights and privileges. These are very slowly going away thanks to growing criticism of Homophobia and public activism for gay rights. The most recent example of a recently overthrown policy is Don't Ask Don't Tell which was ended on September 20, 2011.
In 2009 Muslims from Britain, France and Germany were interviewed for a Gallup poll, one of the questions being whether homosexuality is morally acceptable. 35% of the French Muslims agreed; 19% of the German Muslims agreed; but none of the 500 British Muslims interviewed for the poll agreed.
Due a lack of a stable education system, secular governments and high level of radical religious evangelism, many parts of Africa, especially in the sub-Saharan region, are infamous for their opposition to homosexuality. Uganda in particular has made waves with its hostile treatment to homosexuals passing many laws persecuting them, allowing the public to punish them and denying them basic human rights. They've even shut down any support for them. Currently the Ugandan parliament is considering passing a bill further stripping homosexuals of legal and human rights.
 See also
- Ayatollah Khomeni
- East London Mosque
- Fred Phelps
- Haggard's Law
- Jerry Falwell
- Reaction formation
- Same-sex marriage
- Orson Scott Card
- "The Strange, Strange Story of the Gay Fascists" -- a 2008 Huffington Post essay on rampant homophobes with fascist beliefs who turn out to be in the closet (at least to outsiders)
- Meet The Blowtorch-Carrying Gay Marriage Opponent Who Set That General Mills Lawn On Fire, The Smoking Gun (a video that's just as stupid as described)
- "The World's Worst Place To be Gay" -- Gay BBC reporter visits Uganda (57 minute video)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Henry E. Adams, Lester W. Wright, Jr., and Bethany A. Lohr. Is Homophobia Associated with Homosexual Arousal? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, vol. 105, no. 3, p. 440.
- ↑ Bruce Bagemihl, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, St. Martin's Press, 1999; ISBN 0-312-19239-8
- ↑ Harrold, Max (1999-02-16). "Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity". The Advocate, reprinted in Highbeam Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on gay penguins.
- ↑ What Historical And Religious Context Did Paul Address In First Century Rome?
- ↑ They probably still condone this, or at least they invented a term for it
- ↑ They probably support banning this till relatively recently
- ↑ They still discourage this now.
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on Homosexuality in ancient Greece.
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on Homosexuality in ancient Rome.
- ↑ Warren J. Blumenthal: 'Homophobia: how we all pay the price' (1992)
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on Pegging.
- ↑ GOP State Senator: Homosexual Relationships Pose ‘Health Risks’ To My Family, Thinkprogress.org
- ↑ Iowa senator: Public 'bamboozled' into accepting same-sex relationships, Iowa Register
- ↑ Iowa Senate 4: Guth over Jennings, Globegazette.com
- ↑ https://www.legis.iowa.gov/Legislators/legislator.aspx?GA=85&PID=12334
- ↑ Brian P. Meier et al. A secret attraction or defensive loathing? Homophobia, defense, and implicit cognition. Journal of Research in Personality 40 (2006) 377–394.
- ↑ Penile plethysmograph (PPG) in The Skeptic's Dictionary
- ↑ Robb Willer. [www.gsb.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/.../ob_04_11_willer.pdf Overdoing Gender: A Test of the Masculine Overcompensation Thesis.]
- ↑ Michael Kimmel. Masculinity as Homophobia.
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 Falomir-Pichastor, J. M., & Mugny, G. (2009). “I’m not gay… I’m a real man!”: Heterosexual men’s gender self-esteem and sexual prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35 (9), 1233-1243.
- ↑ Gay panic in Arujo case, SF Gate
- ↑ Ayo Kimathi certainly is getting ready. Did we also mention he's also a black supremacist who wants to kill Caucasians and also works for Homeland Security?
- ↑ http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/may/07/muslims-britain-france-germany-homosexuality
- ↑  Page 33
- ↑ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/20/uganda-bans-organisations-promoting-homosexuality
- ↑ Africa: Making love a crime: Criminalization of same-sex conduct in Sub-Saharan Africa