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The term homophobia is a snarl word used by gay rights activists to verbally tar and feather anyone who dares to oppose homosexuality. The term implies that everyone who opposes homosexuality is being irrational, i.e., literally suffering from a mental illness (see also Phobia). Often the word is used interchangeably: the distinction between "any opposition" and "crazy opposition" is deliberately blurred.

It is primarily used by gay activists to portray opposition to the homosexual agenda as irrational [1] based on fear or hatred, and to smear Christians and others. It is intended to sound like a form of mental illness, but unlike actual phobias, it is not a term for any recognized psychological condition. [2]

NARTH says,

"The term "homophobia" is often used inaccurately to describe any person who objects to homosexual behavior on either moral, psychological or medical grounds. Technically, however, the terms actually denotes a person who has a phobia—or irrational fear—of homosexuality. Principled disagreement, therefore, cannot be labeled "homophobia." [3]

When used in this pejorative sense, the term is offensive and derogatory (see Mockery).


The word comes from combining the Greek prefix homo-, meaning "same", and suffix -phobia, meaning "fear of". In early usage by homosexual activists, the term described heterosexual fears that others might think they were homosexual [4] The neologism was promoted by George Weinberg, a gay activist and psychologist, who attempted to define it in clinical literature shortly before the downgrading of homosexuality as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973. Weinberg claimed it was "the dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals -- and in the case of homosexuals themselves, selfloathing."[5] The term then entered common usage beginning with pornographic publications. [6]

The terms meaning has not been accepted or agreed upon within the psychological therapeutic community. William O'Donohue and Christine E. Caselles [7] have concluded based upon research within the therapeutic community a clear understanding of the term has not been adequately evaluated and it is not clear whether the term can be accurately characterized. They have concluded, "the construct of homophobia, as it is usually used, makes an illegitimately pejorative evaluation of certain open and debatable value positions, much like the former disease construct of homosexuality."

"Internalized homophobia"

The therapeutic community is largely divided between proponents of gay gene theory who believe a person is born gay and will always be gay, and proponents of Reparative therapy who believe with sympathy and understanding a homosexual can be relieved of afflictions if they so desire. Gay gene advocates seek to criminalize so-called "homophobia", despite many homophobes themselves being gay, whereas Restoration therapy advocates point out the cruelty of brainwashing a young person into believing -- based upon theoretical evidence -- there is no hope of ever leading a heterosexual lifestyle.

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi reports homosexuality is a symptom of an underlying problem of gender identity. Nicolosi says,

In the classic triadic family we have a sensitive boy who did not get the close, affirming relationship with his father that would have confirmed him in his gender identity, and a mother who is likely to be over-close and standing in the way between father and son. The father was not supportive enough in affirming, recognizing and reinforcing the boy's maleness. [8]

Nicolosi adds many gay men admit that no matter how liberated they are, they always struggle, on some deeper level, with a sense of inferiority or self-loathing. Some therapists refer to this as internalized homophobia. Nicolosi attributes this feeling to an internal process, unrelated to social stigma, which precedes same-sex attractions.[8]

Homophobia as an "Irrational Fear"

The suffix "phobia" [9] suggests an irrational fear, but it is most often used as a attack term by gay rights groups to suggest that opposition to homosexuality is irrational and hateful.[10] Dr. Sander J. Breiner of NARTH has stated, "it would be very valuable for society in general, and therapists in particular, to have a clear picture of homophobia separated from all the other topics that have been lumped under that rubric." [11] Of the myriads of references to the term in popular and other sociologic publications Breiner observes, "There is no personal, internal, institutional, or cultural homophobia. The terms do not exist in the recognized scientific literature...There is only one homophobia, which has been properly defined," in the the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) [12] developed by the American Psychiatric Association. Breiner, an advocate of Reparative therapy, acknowledges "There is no doubt that homophobia exists" as an irrational fear among both homosexuals and heterosexuals. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. [13]

Violence against gays

In 1990, Congress passed the Hate Crime Statistics Act, which required the Attorney General to collect data about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin. In 1994, lawmakers amended the Hate Crime Statistics Act to include bias against persons with disabilities. [14]

In 2005, law enforcement agencies reported 1,171 hate crime offenses based on sexual-orientation bias, 348 of which are property crimes which includes theft and grafitti. [15] While the FBI reports statistics by victim class or bias motivation, race, religion, sexual orientation and disability, the FBI does not report the sexual orientation of known offenders. Thus a conclusion that all offenders are heterosexual is faulty, and the methodology does not measure gay-on-gay violence. In all of 2004, there was 1 anti-homosexual murder in the United States, and the FBI has reported none since. [16] Of greater concern among homosexuals is the higher risk and more frequent incidence of Gay Domestic Abuse in same sex domestic partnerships than among the heterosexual population.

While 818 bias motivated crimes of persons against gays were reported nationwide in 2004, a earlier study found 5046 incidences of homosexual domestic violence in only nine cities, all of which are crimes of persons. The subject of homosexual domestic violence has not been researched with anything near the thoroughness afforded to heterosexual domestic violence, however the uniformity of conclusions based upon varying sample sizes all point to a prevalence ranging from 20%-35% of homsexual domestic partnerships. [17]

See also


  1. Charles W. Socarides, M.D., How America Went Gay, America, (November 18, 1995).
  2. According to the National Association for Research & Therapy on Homosexuality (NARTH), gay-rights advocate Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D. wrote that the term "homophobia" was useful in pushing forward the gay agenda in our culture. Gay Psychologist Creates New Terms for Use in the Social Debate. "In his paper on homophobia, stigma, and sexual prejudice, Dr. Herek suggests that although the term "homophobia" was useful in pushing forward the gay agenda in our culture, the term may be too limited in its scope today."
  3. NARTH Position Statements
  4. http://www.narth.com/docs/creates.html
  5. Plummer, David, One of the Boys: Masculinity, Homophobia, and Modern Manhood, pp. 3-4: "'Homophobia was introduced into the clinical literature by George Weinberg in 1972, in Society and the Healthy Homosexual.
  6. Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D., published Beyond 'Homophobia': Thinking About Sexual Prejudice and Stigma in the Twenty-First Century, in the April, 2004, issue of Sexuality Research & Social Policy.
  7. William O'Donohue and Christine E. Caselles, Homophobia: Conceptual, definitional, and value issues, Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, Volume 15, Number 3, Springer Netherlands, September, 1993. ISSN 0882-2689
  8. 8.0 8.1 Clinical Issues: Grief Work, Interview: Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D.
  9. Psychologists do not recognize it as a phobia in any generally recognized publication like the DSM IV.
  10. Eg, this site [1] first defines homophobia as a dread or fear, but says that it includes those who write their Congressmen to oppose same-sex marriage.
  11. HOMOPHOBIA: A Scientific Non-Political Definition, Dr. Sander J. Breiner, National Association for Research and Therapy on Homosexuality, 2003.
  12. Specific Phobia DSM-IV Criteria
  13. 2 Timothy 1:7
  14. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reporting Program, Hate Crime Statistics 2005: About Hate Crime[2]
  15. U.S. Department of Justice — Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports, Offense Type by Bias Motivation, 2005 Table 4.
  16. U.S. Department of Justice — Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports, Offense Type by Bias Motivation, 2004 Table 4.
  17. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Domestic Violence in 2001, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 2002.

External links