Saturday, June 14, 2008


During a discussion the other day someone brought up the subject of "heterophobia?" Is there really such a thing? Anon.

Not really. Or at least it certainly isn't the same kind of social ill as homophobia. The term "heterophobia" can be used to describe a negative attitude a gay (and possibly straight) person has about heterosexuality or straight people. In general, however, most, if not all, "heterophobia" is just a reaction to homophobia. After decades of being called "fags," "perverts," "dykes," and so on, some gay people began using the derisive term "breeders" to describe straight people, especially those who were homophobic. Of course gay people can also "breed," and the term isn't used very much today. It's possible that some gay people have been treated so horribly by straights, including their own relatives, having to deal with almost constant, daily verbal and even physical abuse, that they can develop a hatred of straight people, but much more often a gay person even in such a situation will retain his sense of balance.

Look at it this way. Some African-Americans may on occasion make negative (often humorous) comments about whites, but often this is simply a reaction to remarks whites have made about them, or even just an expression of Black Pride. So, too, with some Gays, who joke about, say, straight people having no sense of style or what-have-you. In most instances they're simply expressing Gay Pride. In truth, both the gay and straight communities are very diverse.

The fact is that while heterosexuals can be discriminated against if they belong to other minority groups (Black, Asian, Jewish, Hispanic etc.) or are female, they are not discriminated against because of their sexuality the way gays and other "queer" minorities are. Gay kids are routinely kicked out of their homes when they come out of the closet. Gay people can be fired from their jobs simply because they're gay in 31 states, and gay people can literally be put to death today in the 21st century in any number of third world nations. And so on.

So you see, even if there may be some "heterophobia" -- most if not all of which is entirely benign -- it doesn't in any way, shape, or form compare to homophobia, just as the anger some African-Americans feel toward whites, especially racist whites, does not compare to the racism suffered by black people at the hands of whites down through the centuries.


CupidsReviews Heidi said...

What I never understood is the gay men that bash lesbians? What is that all about. Very confusing! Seems to mainly be the men with a gaggle of 'fag hags' (for lack of better terms) or straight girls that follow them around. Yet another concept I don't quite understand but hey!

Bill Samuels said...

Occasionally you'll come across a gay man who makes cutting remarks about lesbians, forgetting that lesbians are gay and that what he's basically doing is attacking a gay person. In some cases it's an expression of self-hatred with a little misogyny thrown in. Ironically, straight women who hang out a lot with gay men also on occasion make put-downs of lesbians -- often because they don't want anyone to think they're gay -- forgetting that whether you're putting down a gay man or a lesbian you're being homophobic either way. There's more to say on this but for now I'll just say that some people have unresolved issues.

Thanks for your comment.

CupidsReviews Heidi said...

Ha! 'Unresolved issues' is a good way to sum it up. Thanks for the insight.