Homophobia & Heterosexism

The Developmental Experience of Gay/Lesbian Youth

I propose that everyone in our society is homophobic. In addition, it is my strong belief that gay and lesbian individuals, prior to coming out, are among the most homophobic people in our society. Most of us do not think of ourselves as homophobic, however, and many people will disagree with this concept of universal homophobia, especially as applied to them.

Homophobic Hate Crimes Reports Rise in the US

By Jessica Green

Reprinteed with permission from www.PinkNews.co.uk

Statistics from the FBI have shown an 11 per cent rise in reports of homophobic hate crime across America in the last year.

The data, released yesterday (November 23, 2010), shows an overall rise of two per cent for all hate crimes, but this was markedly higher for anti-gay incidents and also for hate crimes based on religion, which rose nine per cent.

It shows that 7,783 hate crimes were voluntarily reported to the agency by participating law enforcement agencies, involving a total of 9,691 victims.

A majority (58 per cent) of the 1,706 victims targeted for their sexual orientation were gay men.

Roughly a third of the cases were physical attacks, another third were intimidation and the remaining third were vandalism or property damage.

The FBI has cautioned that year-to-year comparisons are difficult due to the change in the number of law enforcement agencies which chose to participate.

The number of participating agencies rose by 449, or 3.4 per cent, versus the prior year.

Anti-Semitism and Heterosexism: Common Constructs of Oppression

All oppressions have common roots. Born out of misinformation and directed toward the "other," the goal of any oppression is the unjust, destructive, and unequal distribution of power to the advantage of one group over another. And although there is no specific hierarchy of oppressions, the context in which they manifest themselves - history, economics, or politics - makes some types of oppressions more closely related than others.

Confronting My Homophobia at a Gay Pride Parade: Notes from a Straight Ally

Robert Brannon
Sunday in New York City:  a beautiful, sunny day for the annual Gay Pride March.   Thousands of men and women are assembling in mid-Manhattan for the march through the center of the city.   I'll be march­ing with a group from NOMAS:  Michael Kimmel,  Jim Harrison, Karl White and Ron Smith (who led the first M&M),  Sidney Miller, my wife Joanne, and several other straight and gay friends.    The mood is festive; banners, balloons, and colorful costumes blaze everywhere.   There's a proud old man who took part in the legendary Stonewall Rebellion, which gave birth to the Gay Liberation move­ment.   There's a tall woman on roller skates, wear­ing an evening gown;   someone is costumed as a spider, with six-foot legs waving everywhere.   But under­neath the gaiety, there is a seriousness about this march.   This is a city that has refused to pass a Gay Rights Protection Bill.   One that still has no laws to protect the civil rights and personal safety of its GLBT citizens.   Men and women have died on these very streets, for no crime but their sexual preference.   Like every other city in America, New York needs to see this march.
For a heterosexual man, marching in any Gay Rights de­monstration is likely to be a emotional and “consciousness-raising” experience.   I'd done it be­fore, but the feelings always come back with a jolt.   When you plan it in advance, the idea is simply to march, as a straight person who cares about justice, and wants to support that struggle.   But when you step out into the march, and you look at the faces of the people on the sidewalk watching you go by, it suddenly hits you:    All Those People Think That I'm Gay.   You look at their curious faces, you feel their eyes on you.   A man stares directly at me, and whispers something to the woman he's with.   She smirks.   (I can almost hear them..."Jeeze, look at that one!   What a faggot!")
 You can almost feel their disdain coming out at you, sometimes even hatred.   It's an eerie feeling, all this crazy, impersonal hostility coming down on you, and it's scary.   And the weirdest part of it is that you can't help wanting to say:  "But wait!, I'm not gay!  I'm just here to show support...”   But reality is now irrelevant to what's happening here.    To all these people, I clearly am Gay.   Me, and all my friends here with me.    And “reality” is getting a little fuzzy anyway, because  I'm now feeling a strong bond with all the marchers, and an eerie estrangement and separation from that hostile straight world, gawking on the sidewalks.   That’s my world.   Or is it?  Like the story of the prince and the pauper,  I've stepped over some invisible line, and found myself in a different world.   The "invisible minority."  Except that it's visible today, and I'm now part of it.
I duck out of the march to buy a soda, and wait in line at the deli with a few other customers.

Gay Bashing is About Masculinity

The tragic suicide of Rutgers University first year student Tyler Clementi last fall led to a wave of national hand-wringing anguish about the daily torture and humiliations suffered by young gays and lesbians. An article in The New York Times expanded the conversation to include the stories of several other gay teens who recently committed suicide, such as Seth Walsh of Fresno, Calif., who endured a “relentless barrage of taunting, bullying and other abuse at the hands of his peers.” Walsh hanged himself in September at age 13.

Yet, in our collective search for explanations and solutions we’ve missed one salient fact.

Position Statement on Homophobia

As an organization striving to be affirmative of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgendered, queer, and intersexed persons, NOMAS understands homophobia to be the individual and psychological response to those who do not conform to the expectations of binary heterosexual expression. Homophobia, as an irrational fear and loathing, is to be distinguished from heterosexism, which is the presumption of heterosexuality as the normative state, and identifies L/G/B/T/Q/I persons as deviating from the norm.