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Educate Yourself, Educate Others: Homophobia & Biphobia

Homophobia

An intense, irrational fear of lesbians and gay men, and the hatred, disgust, and prejudice fostered by that fear. The term is widely used to describe any belief or behavior that indicates fear or hatred of lesbians and gay men. (It can also be linked to/applied to Bisexual and Transgender individuals.)

Homophobia can be experienced at several levels:

  • the fear or hatred of persons who are lesbian or gay

  • the fear of being perceived as lesbian or gay

  • the fear or hatred of one's own attraction to members of the same "gender" (which is referred to as internalized homophobia)

The fear and hatred which comprise homophobia can be expressed through a variety of prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory actions, such as:

  • indicating discomfort or disgust toward individuals who are or are perceived as lesbian or gay

  • denying equal treatment to individuals who are or are perceived as lesbian or gay

  • harassing or engaging in violence against individuals who are or are perceived as lesbian or gay

Examples of Homophobia:

  • Making assumptions about a person being lesbian or gay based on dress, behavior, or personality

  • Feeling repulsed by displays of affection between same "gender" couples, but accepting displays of affection between different "gender" couples

  • Thinking of people who are lesbian and gay online in terms of their sexuality, rather than as whole, complex persons

  • Being afraid of social or physical interactions with people who are lesbian or gay

  • Avoiding social situations or activities where you might be perceived as lesbian or gay

  • Assuming that lesbians and gay men will be attracted to everyone of the same sex.

Biphobia

The fear, hatred, or intolerance o bisexual men and women by heterosexuals, gay men, and lesbians, or by bisexuals themselves (internalized biphobia).

Examples of Biphobia

  • Assuming that everyone you meet is either heterosexual or lesbian/gay

  • Assuming that bisexuals are confused or indecisive about their sexuality

  • Assuming that bisexuals are promiscuous or cannot live monogamously

  • Assuming that bisexuals are attracted to everyone

  • Assuming that people who identify as bisexual are "really" lesbian or gay, but are in denial

  • Assuming that bisexuals, if given the choice, would prefer to be with someone of a different sex than themselves to gain some of the privileges of being perceived as heterosexual

  • Believing that people who are bisexual spread HIV/AIDS

  • Automatically assuming that two women together are lesbians, that two men together are gay, or that a man and a woman together are heterosexual

  • Thinking that people identify as bisexual because it is "trendy"

  • Assuming that "bisexual" means "available"

  • Not wanting to date someone who is bisexual because you assume that the person will eventually leave you for someone of another "gender"

  • Thinking of people who are bisexual only in terms of their sexuality, rather than as whole, complex persons

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center
354 Baker University Center
T: (740) 593-0239
E: lgbt@ohio.edu

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