Thoughts on the Place of Homophobia in Modern Society

Posted on April 20, 2014

I support gay marriage. I don't think the state has any business deciding who can and cannot marry. But I'm tired of people saying that there's no place for homophobia in today's society. Sorry folks - you don't have any say in the matter and it's time you get over it.

There is a difference between shaming an anti-gay community member ("there's no place for your perspective") and saying to them "I disagree with your opinion and we, as a community, will not adopt your agenda." Yes, it's possible to reject their opinion in public policy but accept that their opinion exists in the community. I'll even explain why this is necessary.

Advocates of gay rights, myself included, point to volumes of research that indicate:

  1. sexual preference is a spectrum (most of us fall somewhere between 100% heterosexual and 100% homosexual)
  2. sexual preference is not something easily changed - it may even be "baked" into our being as individuals

Efforts to "reform" a truly gay person (someone who is overwhelmingly homosexual) will fail. A 100% homosexual person will never feel comfortable with heterosexuality and no amount of information, propaganda, or coercion will change that.

But, if this is true, so too will a 100% heterosexual person never feel comfortable with homosexuality and no amount of information, propaganda, or coercion will change that.

People throw around "homophobia" rather casually these days but let's disregard homophobia as a vague political term and focus on the real phobia of homosexuals. Nobody would tell an agoraphobe that there's no place for agoraphobia, even through the world exists with its vast skies and open spaces. Yet an agoraphobe must learn to cope with their condition if they are to operate in the world such as it is. So too must a homophobe learn to cope with a world that is tolerant of homosexuality.

It is important to recognize that a true homophobe will never be able to walk into a room full of gays and feel comfortable just like no arachnophobe will be able to walk into a room full of spiders and feel comfortable. No gay person will feel warm fuzzies walking into a room full of 100% hetero people. The community must accept this as it makes progress in inclusivity. It is the responsibility of the community to recognize that we feel differently about these things and it is the responsibility of the individual to recognize that the needs of the community transcend the needs of the individual.

What is the alternative, after all? If there "is no place" for homophobia what are we to do with the homophobes? Kill them? Try to reform them? There is no reasonable way to achieve that reality, so we must stop beating that horse dead.

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