The term homophobia was formed like the names for many other phobias (e.g. arachnophobia) from homoios (όμοιος, greek for same) and phobia (φοβία, greek for irrational fear’).
That was an interesting discussion – thanks Resli! Some like to believe that being ‘gay’ is genetic. Others like to believe that it is the result of ‘social conditioning’. But i am not writing this note to justify my stance. It is merely an open discussion. I hope to learn more about what others believe and why, as it could be that my opinion, and what helped to form my opinions, are wrong.
I would like to relate a story of Sally (not real name). We were 18/19 yrs old and at college. One day she confided in me that she thought she was gay as she had fallen in love with another girl (I never asked who and she never told me).
After many months of discussion, open up, and honest talks, we concluded that falling in love with someone is ok. What was not ok was automatically applying a label depending upon the gender of the person one falls in love with. Sally had connected with another person, and who was to say that her feelings were wrong simply because that person was the same gender. Sally and I concluded that she was not ‘gay’, and that she had merely connected with someone. But because of the environment we were in, we kept her feelings between us. She never told Anne (not real name) how she felt as she was too afraid of being rejected. At that age, and with the emotions she had, being rejected could have had disastrous consequences. Looking back, we could have handled the situation much differently, but we were young, and we were heavily influenced by the environment and times we were living in.
The 80s were exciting times. Fast cars, loud music, expressive ‘hair dos’ and MONEY MONEY MONEY! If you didn’t fit in, then you were nobody. Sally didn’t fit in because of her love for another girl. Looking back, with hindsight as the best teacher, it was not her that was wrong, but the perception that if you are attracted to the same gender then you are gay and everything between you is an abomination and despised by society. Society was highly judgemental in those days.
Eventually she got over Anne. I would like to think that I helped her in some way understand herself. I think the best advice I gave her when she decided she was ‘over’ Anne, was to not go looking for another person of the same gender. My opinion was that the ‘right person’ would find her, and the gender would be irrelevant. She needed to be open to that person when they came in to her life and then she would be truly happy. The gender would sort itself out!
Times change. Back then, gay marriage was unheard of – it just was not on the agenda. Does that mean that as more and more people discover they are gay, that society has learned to accept them? Or is it that as more and more people discover that they are gay, society has given in to the pressure of accepting them? There is a subtle difference in my opinion, but the results are huge. Accepting someone because you understand them, and accepting someone because you are told to do so yield different results.
Throughout my life, I have studied, observed and practised living by a particular set of rules. The point is that I have accepted them because they mean something to me. I am always happy to discuss the “…why’s and wherefore’s” of my beliefs with anyone, and always accept valid points and constructs. People are different, and what they accept for themselves should be because they have accepted it for themselves. Accepting something because it has been forced on to them causes confusion, conflict and social disease such as depression.
If somebody can be happy without causing harm to anyone else then why does that have to be wrong? The conflicts arise, in my opinion, when somebody is not secure in themselves/what they believe and so they go looking to impose their beliefs and opinions on others in order to seek validation. Validation, in my opinion, is like respect – it has to be earned by each and everyone of us without exception. Some need it, others can do without it – do ‘gay’ people need it?