Friday, August 27, 2010

Sexual Prejudice: Understanding Homophobia and Heterosexism, Biphobia and Transphobia - by Kris Coonan, UQ Union, University of Queensland - Changeling Aspects

People with same-sex desires and relationships have long been stigmatized. With the rise of the gay liberation movement in the late 1960s, however, the view of same-sex attraction and behaviour as immoral, criminal and sick came under increasing scrutiny. When the American Psychiatric Association dropped homosexuality as a psychiatric diagnosis in 1973, the question of why some heterosexuals harbour strongly negative attitudes toward homosexuals began to receive serious scientific consideration.


Society's rethinking of sexual orientation centred on the term homophobia, which was introduced by heterosexual psychologist George Weinberg in the late 1960s. Weinberg used homophobia to describe heterosexuals' dread of being in close quarters with same-sex attracted people as well as same-sex attracted people's self loathing.


At about the same time, heterosexism began to be used as a term similar to sexism and racism, describing an ideological system that denies, denigrates, and stigmatizes any sexual form of behaviour, identity, relationship, or community that is not completely heterosexual and heteronormative. Using the term heterosexism highlights the parallels between sexual prejudice and other forms of prejudice, such as racism and sexism…

Sexual Prejudice: Motivations

According to Herek, a variety of motivations underlie sexual prejudice. He suggests that the best way to reveal those motives is to ask how a particular person's prejudicial attitudes benefit her or him psychologically:

"This functional approach has been used to understand attitudes in many different domains. Its basic assumption is that people hold and express particular attitudes because they derive psychological benefit from doing so…

…an ego defensive function lower a person's anxiety resulting from her or his unconscious psychological conflicts, such as those surrounding sexuality or gender. So, people who are firmly committed to a view of themselves as exclusively heterosexual because of cultural or religious beliefs may defend themselves against the fear of their own same-sex desires by exhibiting rampant sexual prejudice against same-sex attracted people. [the parallels are again obvious. "If you can be bi, maybe I can be bi!" This is particularly problematic for lesbian women who've had to endure years of heterosexist disrespect of the "all she needs is the right man" variety. Unfortunately, it's often bisexual women who bear the brunt of the backlash, rather than the heterosexist culture itself]…

Internalised Homophobia

…Individuals with internalised homophobia will tend to see their same-sex attraction as "sinful" and "curable" and will often express a desire to "change" their orientation. They are extremely vulnerable to homophobic health practitioners and religious mentors and are often recruited by "conversion therapists" and "ex-gay" ministries. The suicide rate amongst these individuals - especially those recruited by "ex-gay" ministries- is extremely high. It is absolutely vital to put these people in touch with supportive counsellor's with whom they can identify as soon as possible. Many will be reluctant to go along to a gay or lesbian counsellor initially and will often exhibit extreme hostility and resistance to practitioner's who are openly lesbian, gay or bisexual. These people may fare better with an LGBT-friendly "straight" practitioner initially, until they begin to come to grips with the source of their own homophobia…

Transphobia or Prejudice Against Transgender and Transsexual People

This type of prejudice is obviously likely in those who have internalised heterosexist and homophobic messages - whether they are heterosexual or gay, lesbian or bisexual. We need to acknowledge that there is a great deal of discrimination against and oppression of trans* people in the gay and lesbian community as well as the heterosexual world. Like heterosexuals who derive a great deal of their self-concept from demarcating themselves sharply from the "opposite sex", some gay and lesbian people may feel extremely threatened by those who blur the distinction between "man" and "woman", "masculine" and "feminine" [or straight and gay - as is the case with bisexual people]…

…In order to overcome the kind of internalised homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism this belief system entails, we must come to a position of personal strength where we no longer buy into needing to prove ourselves to be "real men" or "real women". The road to this position entails questioning ourselves and others about why we feel the need to demarcate men and women so strongly and what influences in our culture and upbringing have convinced us that this is necessary, desirable or inevitable…

Biphobia / Sexual Prejudice Toward Bisexual People

Along with prejudice against transgender people, it is also true that many gay and lesbian identified people - along with many heterosexuals - exhibit hostility and mistrust toward those who identify as bisexual. Once again, I believe the culprit is the fact that we have bought into a dichotomising either/or view of the world. You are either a man or a woman. You are either a heterosexual or a homosexual. You can't be non-gendered or differently gendered and you can't be attracted to both men and women!...
Read complete paper: Changeling Aspects

About “Changeling Aspects”

Human Sexuality -> Astonishing Complexities, Variations And Wonder
October 20, 2009 – Fr. Marty Kurylowicz

Auschwitz - Christmas 2008
A flashback far more severe than
in Brokeback Mountain

The Psychology of the Closeted Individual and Coming Out – 2007
by Jack Drescher, M.D.

Hate Crime Bill vs Attacks But No Facts -> Fear And Ignorance Of The Blind Leading The Blind – October 27, 2009 – Fr. Marty Kurylowicz

The Psychology of the Closet: Governor McGreevey's New Clothes
by Jack Drescher, M.D. – August 27, 2004

The Significance of Brokeback Mountain
by Ralph Roughton
Self Psychology News – Fall 2007

Brokeback Mountain

Homophobia- American Psychoanalytic Foundation Public Forum
Ralph Roughton, M.D. 1999

"No sensible person can imagine that the
sexes differ
in matters of love as they do in matters of clothing.
The intelligent lover of beauty will be attracted to beauty in whichever gender he finds it." Plutarch

The Quality Of Lasting Homosexual Relationships
Deserve Respect
Roman Catholic -->Cardinal Christoph Schönborn,

Gay Marriage -> Restores
“Hope of Love”
To Children In Early Childhood

Sexual orientation is less about sex and more about love,
being one with another human being - Attachment Theory
Gay Marriage

Gay Marriage - Galileo Condemned As A Heretic -
Misinterpretations of The Bible
Natural Law?
Benedict XVI?
Kids Are Being Hurt!!!


Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well considered and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child’s spirit.”

Erik Erikson

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