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Should homophobia be seen as a real disease like other phobias?

By Anonymous March 27, 2009 - 4:08pm
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EmpowHER Guest

I am homophobic because my friends were raped and tortured by a homosexual/paedophile. I was trapped in that environment, I cannot understand people who say it is an irrational fear, because my fear is very rational, logical, and I feel reasonable given the circumstances. What most describe here is mere prejudice, but what I have makes an entry onto my medical records.

March 3, 2012 - 12:13pm

i am a male who suffers from the medical condition H-OCD which means i have arguments with a voice (the OCD) in my head about knowing for a fact that i am hetrosexual but the OCD tells me 'but are you?'. when it goes away im myself again and feel awsome (like how i was at school, chasing after girls instead of knuckling down and doing some work) but when it comes back at its worst, i can not be around any one who is gay as it makes me very angry and makes my symptoms worse and i supose that is Homophobia, but that is not me its the OCD. When i am OCD free, i do not have any problem with being in the proximoty of homosexuals. So in answer to your question and to some of the other comments that say its a choice you make, in some cases like mine its not, it is a mental disorder.

July 20, 2010 - 2:11pm

Great question. I also agree that it is a learned behavior not like other mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia although it is labeled as such. There are too many people that use the term "homophobic" extremely loosely and label themselves as "homophobes" simply based on their dislike for homosexuals--much as racism. I would not label this under the same category as with a person who has arachnophobia, which more than likely has had a traumatizing childhood or other experience that directly relates to their phobia.

One thing I have always believed is that people fear that which they do not understand and that is likely the case with homophobes.

January 4, 2010 - 6:29am

I agree with most of the above posts. I though, am a non-heterosexual. I believe that most gay bashers are angry latent homosexuals.I think because latent or repressed homosexuals believe they must hide their own same sex attraction, This group lashes out at others who are openly gay. They feel the openly gay person must pay a price for being happy and openly gay.

January 3, 2010 - 11:08pm
HERWriter Guide

I think homophobia is a learned behavior, like racism.

I think one can be born with an inherent fear of something - that the environment had nothing to do with and did not cause, although of course this isn't the case with all phobias. Some are acquired due to our environments. But I believe that culture, society, religion and personal choice is what makes people homophobic - mother nature had nothing to do with it.

May 2, 2009 - 4:43pm
EmpowHER Guest

I don't like to see Homophobia as a real phobia, I'm a lesbian myself, usually my catholic family will give me a hard time about it. Though, I'll usually say "You're being very queerest at the moment" That seems to make them realise their actions faster then if I was to say homophobic. This has a much deeper effect as being being raciest has a much more negative consequences attached, this goes for most things with 'iest' at the end, such as sexiest etc have more power to them, where phobia's are much more socially accepted. I think the word queerest should be used more, as it includes the whole queer community.

I know that some people will refer to it as homiest but I feel this excludes a lot of people from the picture. I also think that being treated as a second class citizen, if not with in the whole community at least in our family community, a lot of queer people should not hide, let themself be known and to feel comfortable with themselves as a whole.

I think if anyone is going to be diagnosed with homophobia it's the queer community in itself. As we're made to fear a part of who we are, this causes extreme mental issues such as depression, anixety etc, it can affect our relationships, self confidences and our freedom of speech and actions.

Just a simple task such as holding your partners hand, or kissing them on the cheek can be seen as a very stressful task, one that causes people to feel anxious and paranoid that they are being watched or judged. Especially for lesbians, where showing public affection are automatically associated with porn or a forbidden temptation for men. This can make lesbian and bi women feel more dirty and violated.

The ironic thing is, the people who call themselves homophobic are really queeriest who make people homophobic. The biggest violation act that queeriest people do to queer people is silencing our actions, thoughts and voices. This is how they get their power, this is why we shouldn't be silent and not afraid to use the word queeriest.

May 2, 2009 - 3:51pm
EmpowHER Guest

Phobias are certainly learned mental disorders and not a disease that can be medically treated. I have a phobia for needles but the reason I do is because when I was a very young child, the scariest doctor, gave me some shots and I have never been the same about needles since. I learned that needles reminded me of the scary doctor.

Again, learned behaviors and no need to associate homophobia with anything but the learned behavior.

March 28, 2009 - 3:42pm

Well, for one thing, phobias are not diseases. You can't catch a phobia from someone. Phobias are mental disorders.

Homophobia is a term that was coined in 1972 by psychologist and gay activist George Weinberg to describe prejudice against people who are gay. I think of it as being like racism. And you can't catch racism either. It's a conscious choice.

March 27, 2009 - 10:44pm

Great question! I am not in the mental health field but my understanding of phobias is that phobias are considered a symptom linked to an emotional disorder and depending on its intensity of the "fear" triggered by the phobia (what is feared), it could turn into a serious anxiety disorder.

According to the definition found on Wikipedia: A phobia (from the Greek: φόβος, phóbos, "fear"), or morbid fear is an irrational, intense, persistent fear of certain situations, activities, things, or people. The main symptom of this disorder is the excessive, unreasonable desire to avoid the feared subject. When the fear is beyond one's control, or if the fear is interfering with daily life, then a diagnosis under one of the anxiety disorders can be made.

Phobias (in the clinical meaning of the term) are the most common form of anxiety disorders. An American study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that between 8.7% and 18.1% of Americans suffer from phobias. Broken down by age and gender, the study found that phobias were the most common mental illness among women in all age groups and the second most common illness among men older than 25.

Homophobia is known as a resentment or fear of gay and lesbian people. At its most benign it's voiced as a passive dislike of gay people. At its most destructive it involves active victimization. The fear may not be linked to a mental response but possibly environmental influences such as religious upbringing, societal norms, etc. Homophobia could be passive but in extreme cases it may take a violent expression which results on bodily harm against those who may be perceived to be gay or lesbian, someone who has an association with gay people or one who does not conform to stereotypical expectations of masculine or feminine behavior.

This link from the National Institute of Health has great information about phobias as an emotional/mental disorder. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/phobias.html

And this link offers good information on homophobia http://www.avert.org/homophobia.htm

March 27, 2009 - 10:23pm
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