|How Homophobia Hurts Us All
(By Warren J. Blumenfeld, Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992)
You do not have to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) - or know someone who is -to be negatively affected by homophobia. Though homophobia actively oppresses LGBT people, it also hurts heterosexuals.
• Inhibits the ability of heterosexuals to form close, intimate relationships with members oftheir own sex, for fear of being perceived as LGBT
• Locks people into rigid gender-based roles that inhibit creativity and self-expression;
• Is often used to stigmatize heterosexuals; those perceived or labeled by others to be
LGBT; children of LGBT parents; parents of LGBT children; and friends of LGBT
• Compromises human integrity by pressuring people to treat others badly, actions that are contrary to their basic humanity.
• Combined with sex-phobia, results in the invisibility or erasure of LGBT lives and
sexuality in school-based sex education discussions, keeping vital information from
students. Such erasures can kill people in the age of AIDS.
• Is one cause of premature sexual involvement, which increases the chances of teen
pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections. Young people, of all sexual
identities, are often pressured to become heterosexually active to prove to themselves and
others that they are “normal.”
• Prevents some LGBT people from developing an authentic self identity and adds to the
pressure to marry, which in turn places undue stress and often times trauma on
themselves as well as their heterosexual spouses, and their children.
• Inhibits appreciation of other types of diversity, making it unsafe for everyone because
each person has unique traits not considered mainstream or dominant. We are all
diminished when any one of us is demeaned.
By challenging homophobia, people are not only fighting oppression for specific groups of people, but are striving for a society that accepts and celebrates the differences in all of us.