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Homosexuality and bisexuality

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Homophobia: Attacks on, & restrictions
imposed on, lesbians, gays & bisexuals

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Overview:

There is a deficiency in the English language with respect to the term "homophobia" and related terms. There is only this one word to cover a multitude of meanings, including:

  • A fear being in the presence of gays, lesbians, or bisexuals (GLBs).
  • A fear of the threat that GLBs are perceived as posing towards one's family, society, culture, religion, etc.
  • Hatred of GLBs.
  • Engaging in violent actions against GLBs.
  • Advocating reduced civil rights for GLBs including opposition to same-sex marriage.

The same problem exists in the use of the term "sexist" in the field of gender, "racist" in connection with skin color or race, "xenophobia" with reference to national origin, and "religism" with respect to religion. ("Religism" is a term that we coined to fill a void in the English language.) Ideally, we need five English words for each field; in fact we have only one.

This situation leads to great confusion. One person might call another a homophobe because they have expressed concern about possible negative effects on society if GLBs are allowed to marry. The latter might be offended because they regard homophobia as implying hatred of GLBs or physical violence against GLBs.

On this site, we try to define "homophobia" consistently as:

"... engaging in a behavior aimed at actively denigrating -- or restricting the human rights of -- persons who have a homosexual orientation and/or who engages in homosexual activity.

This behavior can take many forms. Examples are: voting in a plebiscite; sending an Email to one's political representatives; participating in a demonstration; voting on a school board; knowingly voting to elect a homophobe; talking to coworkers or friends; delivering a sermon; etc.

The rights being denied to GLBs include what many believe to be the most important human right: to be married to the person that they love and to whom they are committed; to have their spousal status recognized and registered; and to be assigned benefits and obligations of marriage by the government. Other rights include protection from hate-motivated crimes, protection in accommodation, and employment security.

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Topics covered in this section are:

See also: Challenges faced by homosexuals and bisexuals

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Site navigation:

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality & Bisexuality > here

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Copyright 1996 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last updated 2010-NOV-10

Author: Bruce A Robinson
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