I am not homophobic and never have been although I certainly have been exposed to it at an early age. Of course, during my lifetime it seems as though many great strides have been made in an effort to scientifically determine the cause of homosexuality – that is, the great question of “Is it a choice or genetics?” I am a member of the crowd which supports the latter suggestion and science seems to agree with me so I’m fine with that.
But many others are not fine with that suggestion or even with the suggestion that homosexuals (rightly) exist. I find this curious because it doesn’t seem like any gays are bashing straight people for their sexuality and you generally don’t see gay men and women fearing for the safety of their virginity and orifices when a straight person is around so why should it be any different if the roles were reversed?
I do think there are several trends among those who tend to be homophobic and I think that these trends are probably indicative to the nature of the issue and may shed some light on the thought process and behaviour.
- Most homophobes appear to be straight men
- Men associated with the military tend to be most homophobic
- Homophobic people seem to believe that gay people will force themselves upon another person more than a straight person would
Now all of this is based on my personal experiences with those who are outwardly homophobic and my experiences may not be the norm in these situations; although I do believe they support the statistics.
So what do these trends indicate? They seem to indicated that straight men have a higher fear of gay men than their female counterparts do and also that while some females are homophobic, they are less likely to be vocal about it.
Why should gender matter when it comes to the extremity of dislike of homosexuals? As not a male or homophobe, it’s difficult to say but I have read that homophobia in men seems to be related to the fact that they worry they could become homosexuals themselves, a completely ludicrous thought that wouldn’t hold up against any argument if looked upon rationally.
And I think a lack of rational judgement is what homophobia all comes down to. If a man is gay does that make him any more likely to coerce or force a straight man sexually? Is that gay man more likely to do those things than, say, a straight woman to that straight man? I think it’s highly unlikely.
In fact, I don’t see why there needs to be any significance put on sexual orientation. All people, both straight or gay (and everything in between) are likely targets for those who might have a sexual or romantic interest in them. Most people will be faced with admirers who might be pushy (hopefully no more than that) with their sexual advances which are unwanted by the recipient. Does the offender’s sexuality really make a difference? Is a gay man hitting on a straight man really any more likely or offensive than a straight man hitting on a straight woman, if the intentions are unwanted? Does the fact that one involves a homosexual have to be any more of a “big deal” or is it something that simply might happen, will not leave either party any the worse and should be treated in an adult manner?
Not according to homophobes because, often in their view, gays are more likely to be coercive or forceful in their advances. Logical or not – and I’m going to say “not,” here – this attitude is far more prevalent than it should be.
The fact is, looked upon logically, this is really a non-issue. Any person can be on either end of a sexual advance and while, sadly, sometimes the advances involve violence and molestation rather than harmless banter, I bet many sexual advances are really just miscommunication and a lack of taste than anything else.
While I understand that a straight person who works in very close quarters with a gay person, like in the military, might be uncomfortable, I don’t think it’s feasible that a gay man is going to abuse the situation just because he is a gay man. Honestly, how many members of the country’s armed forces are gay but “in the closet” and obviously not putting their straight comrades into uncomfortable situations because of their sexual orientation? More than you and I know of, certainly.
Sadly, homophobia is still widely accepted in our society, especially in certain groups. No wonder you can stumble upon a soldier or sailor playing off his homophobia as a joke to which his buddies will laugh. But when you take a good hard look at reasons for homophobia, are they solid or are they due to a lack of rationale when it comes to understanding homophobia? I certainly think the latter.
Aren’t they bigger issues we, as a society, need to tackle? Time wasted being homophobic can certainly be better spent on other pursuits.