Sunday, August 22, 2010

Homophobia and Heterosexism, February 6, 2008 - Gender Equity Resource Center - University of California, Berkeley

What is Homophobia?
Homophobia is the irrational fear and intolerance of a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation. It can be caused by hate, prejudice, fear, and/or ignorance. Anti-gay violence and hatred created by homophobia are the causes for most hate crimes in the U.S. Homophobia has different motivations, but it always leads to hurt and exclusion of others…

Here are some specific manifestations of Homophobia:

Internalized Homophobia: The experience of shame, aversion or self-hatred in reaction to one’s own feelings of attraction for a person of the same sex.

Institutional Homophobia: (can also be considered Heterosexism) attitudes and policies that discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity within governments, organizations, certain religions, businesses, and other institutions. For example, many groups have policies against LGBQ holding offices, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military, absence of positive representations of LGBQ in the media and movies, lack of funding or support for LGBQ events and groups, and proposed federal same-sex marriage bans.

What is Heterosexism?
Assuming every person to be heterosexual therefore marginalizing persons who identify as LGBQ. It is also believing heterosexuality to be superior to homosexuality.

What is Heterosexual privilege?
Privilege is the overall unearned advantages and rights that systematically empowers certain groups over others. Heterosexual privileges are the benefits gained automatically by being heterosexual that are denied to homosexuals. It can also be the benefits an LGBQ person gains by claiming heterosexual identity and denying homosexual identity.

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