Homophobia

Most of my childhood took place in the 1960s and early ’70s. In those days it was considered OK to hate “queers” and use that word as a term of abuse, and the only gays (though that word hadn’t yet been co-opted) that one saw on television were outrageously camp, thus rendering them “harmless”. (If you saw one you could avoid him in plenty of time). It is little wonder that, deep in the recesses of my mind, I became tainted with homophobia.

It has been suggested, by some “straight” people,  that I should be ashamed of this taint. I disagree. In order to fight against bigotry, one must first identify even the smallest trace of it. Knowing where it begins, one can engage one’s brain and realise the stupidity of bigotry.

When he appeared on BBC’s Question Time, the British Nazi Party’s Nick Griffin said that if he saw two men kissing he’d ‘feel weird’. To a small extent I would agree with him, but unlike Griffin I don’t think such sights should be in any way discouraged. That weird feeling is my problem, and Griffin’s, and anyone else’s that feels the same way. Gays and lesbians should be afforded the same rights, at all levels of society, as everyone else. If that becomes the norm the emotionally damaged and bigoted among us, unwilling to think, will be the exceptions being stared at.

I would, and should, be ashamed if I just accepted the heritage of my youth, and turned my discomfort into hatred, rather than confronting it.

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3 responses to “Homophobia

  1. Oh, and thanks for the first comment on my new blog!

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  2. I’ve given it a lot of thought over the years and I don’t have a definitive answer as to why it feels weird, but part of it I’m sure is conditioning, particularly in childhood. As I indicated, homophobia was the accepted norm when I was growing up. Equal rights for gays, enshrined in law, might lead to those rights being recognised by all but the most misanthropic and bigoted.
    Maybe we can’t entirely overcome what makes us uncomfortable, but it doesn’t hurt to try. I’ve found my attitudes have changed. Most of my discomfort now when talking with gay people is the worry that I’ll be patronising, rather than the disgust that is evident in most of the homophobia I see displayed.

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  3. this is very interesting, I wonder if you can pinpoint exactly what it is you find “Weird” about it. Do you think we can overcome things we can find uncomfortable?

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