Phobia vs. Bigotry in LGBTQ issues - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-14-2011, 07:14 AM
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Is it "homophobia" or "homo-bigotry"?

Found this blog about conflating phobia with bigotry. I wonder what you all think.

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Phobias are real things that impact the lives of many people. Bigotry and oppressive forces are also a thing that impacts the lives of many people. But they’re not the same thing. At all.

Specifically phobias are when something or other produces an extremely strong unpleasant emotional reaction, mostly fear or panic. You see a bee, and you completely freeze up and can’t move because the bee is going to hurt you (even though, logically, you know that’s unlikely and if it did the pain would be annoying and not serious)

Phobias are not generally taken very seriously. This is a recurring problem; wherein people will try to expose you to your phobia for a variety of reasons, possibly because they think you need exposure therapy and have decided to skip the informed consent stage. Or possibly because they find it funny, or any variety of reasons. All of which are extremely ableist; at best trying to “help” you in a way that denies your agency, at worst outright abuse.

And further, people will often treat people with phobias very condescendingly. Insisting that you should just magically get over it or that your emotional reaction is a sign of weakness or any other variety of derogatory treatment for it. People will completely disregard the needs of their readers, and, for example, illustrate their writing with pictures of blood or insects in ways that make it hard to avoid said pictures; assuming that their readers emotional safety is just a concern to be casually tossed aside. (Further ignoring the fact, of course, that if you trigger your readers, they are unlikely to remain your readers.)

The thing is, the suffix “-phobia” is used for two completely different things.

One thing is phobias; which are a mental process that is rather disruptive and tends to preclude clear thinking. The other is bigotry. Bigotry is hate. It’s treating people as less than human. It’s systematically denying people basic rights and disrupting their lives.

But it’s not a phobia.

Calling it one gives reasonability to the panic defense; when someone claims that they just panicked because the victim of a hate crime was different and that made them commit said crime. Because phobias do result in an inability to think clearly, although they don’t usually result in violence so much as hiding. Further calling bigotry a phobia serves to make oppressors sympathetic. After all, their bigotry is just an out of control emotional reaction. It says that they are the ones who are suffering, not the people who they are oppressing.

Using “-phobia” to discuss bigotry shames phobias as well. Telling people that their emotional reactions are as bad as forces that systematically dehumanize and kill people on a regular basis prevents people from being able to discuss their reactions without being read as terrible people. It prevents people from being able to deal with their phobias in useful ways, whether by avoiding them or by attempting to find treatment for them. It encourages people to hurt themselves by entering painful situations and ignoring the pain, because the pain is seen as a manifestation of their own personal failures. Using “-phobia” for bigotry is an example of bigotry and is definitely oppressive.

This becomes especially a problem because occasionally oppression and phobias overlap. If you spend your life shamed for expressing a personality trait or because of your mind, and are constantly harassed and demeaned because of something about you, and see people around you who exhibit said trait be harassed and treated as jokes or disguisting or terrible people, you can quickly develop a phobia of said trait.

But then, when you have that reaction, everyone around you uses the words to describe your reaction to describe the people who hate you. Who’s oppression has caused this reaction in the first place. You have panic attacks when you try to transition because you’ve been bombarded by messages that trans people are terrible and freaks. Only then, you can’t talk about it. You can’t say “Oh hey I have a phobia of being trans” because transphobia isn’t anxiety about stepping outside of prescribed gender roles, it’s oppression of people who do that. Calling oppression of trans people transphobia is likely to be oppressive to trans people.

Fighting bigotry with bigotry isn’t just helping one group at the expense of another, it’s hurting the group you’re trying to help, and makes their oppressors sympathetic. This is, understandably, problematic.

Further, there are relatively reasonable replacements for many common “-phobia” terms, that often serve better to explain what the oppressive forces are. For example, cissexism much more clearly encompasses all the manifestations of oppression and erasure of transness, not merely the overt violence.

Monosexism, cissexism, and heterosexism are all words that much more clearly discuss how erasure and normativizing one group at the expense of others is a problematic element of society.

(In addition, replacing “phobia” with “-hate” or “-bigotry” can serve to allow discussion of specifically more overt violence, or in cases where there isn’t such an obvious replacement term.)


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#2 Old 05-14-2011, 07:19 AM
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that's what I said about islamophobia.

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#3 Old 05-14-2011, 08:30 AM
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Rotoshave, seems your word of the moment is "conflating".

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#4 Old 05-14-2011, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *AHIMSA* View Post

Rotoshave, seems your word of the moment is "conflating".

It's a useful word

"It is far better to be happy than to have your bodies act as graveyards for animals. Accordingly, the apostle Matthew partook of seeds, nuts and vegetables, without flesh"- Clement of Alexandria
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#5 Old 05-14-2011, 08:33 AM
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Indeed.

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#6 Old 05-14-2011, 09:00 AM
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I can basically agree with the statement written. A phobia is a fear of something. If you are actually afraid to be around homosexuals/lesbians*, then you would be homophobic. If you just don't like them for whatever reason, then you have a prejudice against them.

* To further elaborate on that thought, you must be afraid of the concept of homosexuality/lesbianism, not other related topics like your own sexuality, diseases, influence over other people, etc. Those would be separate issues. I doubt there are very many *real* homophobics in the world. Most of them are just bigoted.
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#7 Old 05-14-2011, 11:46 PM
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There is plenty of criticism of the term homophobia and plenty of proposed alternatives.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homopho...ng_and_purpose


I don't find homobigotry in any of the dictionaries, and do not think it is the best alternative.
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#8 Old 05-14-2011, 11:53 PM
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Homobigotry does address the issue much better than homophobia to me.
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#9 Old 05-15-2011, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepydvdr View Post

I can basically agree with the statement written. A phobia is a fear of something. If you are actually afraid to be around homosexuals/lesbians*, then you would be homophobic. If you just don't like them for whatever reason, then you have a prejudice against them.

* To further elaborate on that thought, you must be afraid of the concept of homosexuality/lesbianism, not other related topics like your own sexuality, diseases, influence over other people, etc. Those would be separate issues. I doubt there are very many *real* homophobics in the world. Most of them are just bigoted.

Small point but there's no need to use both the terms homosexuality and lesbianism. Homosexuality doesn't just apply to men.
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#10 Old 05-15-2011, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthling View Post

Small point but there's no need to use both the terms homosexuality and lesbianism. Homosexuality doesn't just apply to men.

That's true and whilst this question may have an obvious answer, still...

Is there a "normal" term exclusively for homosexual men?

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#11 Old 05-15-2011, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Envy View Post

That's true and whilst this question may have an obvious answer, still...

Is there a "normal" term exclusively for homosexual men?

"gay"? "homosexual men"?

Though you're right, in some way gay is generalized for both genders.

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#12 Old 05-16-2011, 10:29 PM
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We seem to be skirting some of the more interesting questions at hand here:
How are different types of bigotries structured by social systems?
How are such bigotries implemented cognitively?
What roles does fear manifested how play therein?
And then to what degree can we analogize which of these processes with phobias (as we know them as psychological disorders)?

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#13 Old 05-17-2011, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Envy View Post

Is there a "normal" term exclusively for homosexual men?

No, and the only reason the term lesbian exists is because most heterosexual men find homosexuality between women appealing, and don't want it associated with "gay" or "homosexual".

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#14 Old 05-17-2011, 10:06 AM
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Do you have any data to support your etymology?

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#15 Old 05-17-2011, 02:45 PM
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The term homophobia was coined in the 1960s/1970s, when homosexuality was still seen as an illness in the States. It was described on medical terms as a fear of losing values, a fear of religion, a fear of losing tradition. It was adopted by gay rights activists to describe bigotry... I can imagine at the time, people may have been genuinely afraid of gay people because it was seen as being sick, but also maybe the term was adopted because people were pathologised for their sexual orientation and in turn, its entymology almost pathologises the irrational bigotry?

That's how I feel anyway...

If you look at terms such as misandry or misogyny, they come much earlier than say... "Racism", which entered the English language in the 1930s and I think the term "sexist" came from the word "racist"...

Language is forever evolving, but for some social issues, campaigners probably choose words which resonate with the politics of the time and what they feel would be effective. I'm not saying all are perfect mind...
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#16 Old 05-17-2011, 04:07 PM
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When I was growing up I was taught that woman were lesbians and men were Homosexuals. However, they can be sumed up as homosexuals depending on what your referring Homosexuals as. If it just for females we say Lesbian because its either to point out we are talkin about Gay woman.
As for a phobia for these types of people if your afraid of a lifestyle that will not hurt you then you have a problem with yourself. I love all people unless they are mean and hurtful. I hate mean and hurtful people that says they are afraid of being around these couples. They should be able to marry like traditional married people do and they should be able to be in happiness. I know I am a Christian and my church teaches against what I said but, I know deep down we are all need peace and love and support not in one little group.
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#17 Old 05-17-2011, 04:59 PM
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As one bigot once told me, "I'm not afraid of gay people. I just don't like them."

"If you are lonely when you're alone, you are in bad company."
Jean-Paul Sartre
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#18 Old 05-17-2011, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peacefulveglady View Post

When I was growing up I was taught that woman were lesbians and men were Homosexuals. However, they can be sumed up as homosexuals depending on what your referring Homosexuals as. If it just for females we say Lesbian because its either to point out we are talkin about Gay woman.
As for a phobia for these types of people if your afraid of a lifestyle that will not hurt you then you have a problem with yourself. I love all people unless they are mean and hurtful. I hate mean and hurtful people that says they are afraid of being around these couples. They should be able to marry like traditional married people do and they should be able to be in happiness. I know I am a Christian and my church teaches against what I said but, I know deep down we are all need peace and love and support not in one little group.

Certain churches teach against it, not, for example, the Episcopal church, the Lutheran Church ELCA, the UCC or the Unitarian Universalists.

As for what you said about people fearing LGBTQ lifestyles... isn't hate rooted in fear? Fear of the unknown, fear of people transcending social norms, fear of what such challenges to societal norms would do to their foundational worldview? At what point does this fear, however, become intentionally nurtured by the individual and turned into hate?

"It is far better to be happy than to have your bodies act as graveyards for animals. Accordingly, the apostle Matthew partook of seeds, nuts and vegetables, without flesh"- Clement of Alexandria
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#19 Old 05-17-2011, 05:48 PM
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A few decades ago, I could totally understand somebody being confused by/frightened of homosexuality.

But it's 2011. If you have any kind of problem with gay people now, you're not phobic - you're just a bigoted dickhole.
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#20 Old 05-17-2011, 05:52 PM
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i a pretty sure it is just bigotery. people often say that homophobes are insecure about their own sexuality etc., I think that is rubbish. They know very well that they are straight, they just think everyone who isn't straight is wrong
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#21 Old 05-18-2011, 02:21 PM
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What do we mean by 'just' bigotry?

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#22 Old 05-18-2011, 02:30 PM
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that it is bigotery without any personal sexuality insecurities
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#23 Old 05-18-2011, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebola View Post

What do we mean by 'just' bigotry?

ebola

A phobia is the fear of something. Most are saying that people aren't really 'afraid' of homosexuality. They are just against it for other reasons.
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#24 Old 03-31-2015, 09:53 PM
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Just leave the word the way it is. It communicates the issue clearly and there isn't a need to make new words and confuse people IMO. The purpose of making these words is to advance the rights of MOGAI people (I just contradicted myself lol; Mogai stands for marginalized orientation gender and intersex. It's more inclusive. If you want you could say LGBTQQI2SPAA, but that's like the whole alphabet and that's just the groups I could think of xD), and I doubt anybody is going to see "phobia" at the end of homophobia or transphobia and say "hey it's a fear" because everyone knows it means hatred of MOGAI people.

Now question for you people: What is it called when there is hatred towards polyamorous people? Monosexism?
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