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I was just talking to Lyz Liddell of the Secular Student Alliance about this the other day. Then I saw this post on Reddit, which reminded me about it, so I decided to write a quick post.
From now on, I’m no longer using the term “homophobia” to describe bigotry against gay people. I’m simply going to call it bigotry.
Bigot: one obstinately and irrationally, often intolerantly, devoted to his own church, party, belief, or opinion.*
I have yet to hear anything close to a rational, fact-based justification for why gay behavior or orientation is anything other than normal, natural, and harmless. Until someone can present this, obstinate, irrational, and intolerant devotion to anti-gay beliefs is simply another way of saying that someone is bigoted.
Phobias are medical conditions where someone has an irrational *fear* of something that’s normal or otherwise harmless. For example, there’s such a thing as a healthy fear of bears (a mother sow protecting her cubs can be very dangerous), but a phobia of bears is something else entirely. There may in fact be some people who are actually, irrationally afraid of gay people, despite knowing that they are normal, natural, and harmless. But that is not what we mean when we say “homophobic.” We mean “bigoted,” and it’s time we started saying so.
People who normally get called “homophobes” don’t have an irrational fear of gay people. They have an irrational *intolerance* to the belief that gay people are sinful, etc. That’s just bigotry, plain & simple.
That’s all. Good night!
*”bigot.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (15 Jun. 2012).
Dave Muscato is Vice President of MU SASHA. He is a vegetarian, LGBTQ ally, and human- & animal-welfare activist. A junior at Mizzou studying economics & anthropology and minoring in philosophy & Latin, Dave posts updates to the SASHA blog every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday and twice monthly for the Humanist Community at Harvard. His website is http://www.DaveMuscato.com.
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