Chapter 9 Homophobia Myth

Sunday 9 April 2017.
 

Chapter Nine Homophobia Myth

The information being present here is to bring clarity and understanding to a word that has been coined by those advocating for homosexuality. Along with many other things associated with homosexuality, homophobia immediately places us in a quandary. One such quandary is holding to a position that there is a homosexual who is a distinct person. This is a concept, a homosexual as a distinct person that those advocating for homosexuality themselves cannot agree upon. It is seen in the framework of the philosophical discussion of social constructionism and essentialism. The prevailing view held today by many of those advocating for homosexuality is a social constructionist viewpoint. There is no homosexual as a distinct person, only individuals who self-identify by those behaviors or acts they commit, same-sex sexual acts. In the United States and other western societies this identity has taken on a very strong political connotation. A group of people self-identifying by their behavior or the acts they commit seeking legal sanctioning of their behavior in a political rights context. To be homosexual or gay today can best be seen as a political identity. How can there be homophobia if the homosexual, as a distinct person does not exist? The creating of homophobia is another example of myth making the continual portrayal of a victim status by a group of individuals who self-identify by their behavior or the acts they commit. The political homosexual is not a representative group of homosexuals and they fail by any measure to qualify for victim status.

Difficulties with defining homophobia are not confined to whether or not it is a true phobia. The term involves implicit reference to homosexuality, which also has inherent definitional problems. There has been considerable debate in recent years over whether homosexuals are universal across different cultures or whether the homosexual is an identity that can only be legitimately discussed in relation to Westernized cultures. (Plummer, One of the Boys: Masculinity, Homophobia, and Modern Manhood, p. 6)

Consistent with the political and social climate of the United States during the second half of the 1960s, the issue of homosexuality became politicized. There was a movement by an increasing number of gay activists to promote the civil and political rights of homosexuals inasmuch as homosexuality was beginning to denote minority status with regard to political and civil rights rather than a category of deviance. Psychiatry, which had previously defined homosexuality as a disease and diagnosed homosexuals as mentally ill, was considered a formidable but politically and strategically important obstacle in the struggles of homosexuals for social and political status. In the late 1960s homosexuals in the United States forged a potent movement to depathologize homosexuality. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 67 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

In the following quote, the nosological revision being referred to is the decision in 1973 to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association

Shortly after the nosological revision, there was a significant shift in the focus of the research related to homosexuality. Rather than focus on the etiology and cure of homosexuality, theorists and researchers in psychology began to suggest that negative attitudes toward homosexuals, rather than homosexuality itself, cause many of the difficulties that homosexuals face (Smith, 1971). Many of these researchers rejected what they referred to as the victim analysis, and redirected their empirical pursuits toward the possible victimizers, more specifically, toward the attitudes of nonhomosexuals toward homosexuals and homosexuality (MacDonald, Huggins, Young, and Swanson, 1972). Homosexuality was now regarded as a normal, healthy, lifestyle choice. Thus, new questions arose: what are the etiology and associated features of individuals who have negative attitudes and reactions toward homosexuals and homosexuality? What is the cure for this attitude? (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 68 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

The declassification of homosexuality as a disease by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 generally fueled the gay movement not only in the United States but also in other countries. Until 1970 all basic issues of same-gender attractions, roles, and relationships were classified as a disease under the general diagnosis of homosexuality. It was about this time that the explicit concept of homophobia the conscious and unconscious fear and hatred of homosexuality and lesbians/gays was coined in social study. The concepts marks, a turning point not only in scientific attitudes about homosexual mental health but also in the increasing self-esteem of many gays and lesbians, as noted in mental health studies during and since that time. Generally, the stigma and prejudice inherent in antihomosexual activities, such as queer-bashing, were implicitly accepted by society and sanctioned through the disease label. In many ways, they still are (Herek 1993). (Herdt, Same Sex, Different Cultures: Gays and Lesbians Across Cultures, p.56)

Homophobia is a medical condition coined by those advocating for homosexuality to be used to describe the attitudes and actions of those whose oppose homosexuality. Homophobia as originally defined was the dread or fear of being in close contact with homosexuals. There is some confusion as to where this word homophobia actually originates. Two views can be found in articles and books that discuss homophobia. The word, which may have been coined in the 1960s, was used by K.T. Smith in 1971 in an article entitled Homophobia: A Tentative Personality Profile. (Fone, Homophobia A History, p.5) Others write that George Weinberg in his 1972 book, Society and the Healthy Homosexual introduced homophobia into literature about homosexuality.

What is clear, that this word homophobia is a poor choice of a word to use for describing the attitudes and actions by those who oppose homosexuality. The attitudes and actions are not a phobia in the clinical sense. This word fails to clearly describe what the attitudes and actions towards homosexuality are. But for gaining acceptance of homosexuality and for political considerations the word has strong advantages. Much of the information that follows comes from those advocating for homosexuality.

Defining Homophobia

Homophobia is a problematic term, particularly when taken literally. (Plummer, One of the boys: Masculinity, Homophobia, and Modern Manhood, p. 4)

Literally, the irrational fear of homosexuals; used more widely to denote hatred for gay men and lesbians and the view that they are somehow inferior to heterosexuals. (Kranz and Cusick, Gay Rights, p. 155)

It appears that during the past two decades, the term homophobia has been generalized to denote any negative attitude, belief, or action toward homosexuals (Haaga, 1991; Fyfe, 1983). (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 68 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Homophobia was a convenient term designed to interpret cultural restrictions on homosexual behavior, but become a catchall political concept used to refer to any nonpositive attitude gays. However, the descriptions of the concept and the research used to support the theories show neither irrational fear nor a specific reaction toward homosexuals. (Nungessor, Homosexual Acts, Actors, and Identities p.162)

Other variants of the more general definition of homophobia included Colin’s (1991) description of homophobia as any antihomosexual bias and discriminatory behavior. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 69 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

There were still other definitional attempts. Morin and Garfinkle (1978) characterized the homophobic as an individual who does not value a homosexual lifestyle equally with a heterosexual lifestyle (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 69 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Bell (1991) considered homophobia to be the equivalent of homonegativity, which refers to any negative feelings or thoughts about homosexuals and homosexuality. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 69 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Reiter (1991) defined homophobia as antihomosexual prejudice, a complex phenomenon whose roots have been traced to a cultural context. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 69 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

The term homophobia is now popularly construed to mean fear and dislike of homosexuality and those who practice it. (Fone, Homophobia A History, p.5)

Homophobi has become popular as a descriptor of a wide range of negative emotions, attitudes, and behaviors toward homosexual people. (Haaga, omophobia?, p. 171)

As the word homophobia gained currency, it began to be widely used by professionals and non-professionals to indicate any negative attitude, belief, or action directed against homosexual persons, with the result that the term has lost much of its original precision. (Hudson and Ricketts, A Strategy for the Measurement of Homophobia, p.357)

Homophobia is mainly a category accusation because it is primarily directed at acts and what acts represent in fantasy, and only secondarily at the people who commit those acts, even though this century has given those people a distinct name. This is the one ideological prejudice that aims at doing, not being. (Young-Bruehl, The Anatomy of Prejudices, p. 143)

Homophobia is not a phobia

A phobia in its clinical sense is an irrational fear of something; an individual who has a phobia tries to avoid that which triggers this fear. If they cannot avoid the object of their phobia, it is endured with great anxiety and distress.

A phobia is a mainly irrational fear of something. It is not an illness. It is not a mental disorder. (www.pe2000.com/phobiawhat.htm)

A phobia is a persistent, excessive, unrealistic fear of an object, person, animal, activity or situation. The phobic individual either tries to avoid the thing that triggers the fear, or endures it with great anxiety and distress. (www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW00/9339/9475.html)

S,o using the definitions and descriptions of homophobia above, which are used by those advocating for homosexuality we have the misuse of a word.

Comparing a phobia to a prejudice

In sum, homophobia seems, at least descriptively, more like a prejudice than like a phobia. (Haaga, Homophobia?, p.172)

Below in a chart is what Haaga uses to support the idea that homophobia is a prejudice and not a phobia as defined in a medical clinical sense. The person who suffers from a phobia is anxious about it, sees his fears as excessive, avoids something, and he is the one that must change. But the one who is prejudiced is angry towards another, justifies his anger, use aggressive behavior in discriminating against someone, and it is the person who is prejudiced and who discriminates must change.


Phobia Prejudice (homophobia)

Problematic emotion anxiety anger

Judgement of ones’ emotions excessive or unreasonable
seeing one’s anger as justified
Problematic emotion avoidance aggression

Political agenda regarding target no target
discrimination against targets

Locus of motivation for change "themselves" are motivated to change
targets the people holding such attitudes


Measuring Homophobia

Five studies by researchers attempting to measure homophobia are reviewed here. The first was by Kenneth T. Smith in 1971, using a nine-item Homphobia Scale (H-Scale) and was reported in the journal, Psychological Reports.

1. Smith 1971

One of the earliest attempts to measure homophobia consisted of an effort to discover psychosocial correlates of individuals reporting negative attitudes toward homosexuals (Smith, 1971. Smith developed a twenty-four-item self-reporting questionnaire, which consisted of a nine-item Homophobia Scale (H-Scale) and fifteen items assessing attitudes related to a diverse set of topics, such as patriotism, materialism, sexuality, religion, and traditional sex roles. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 70 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Smith’s study to measure homophobia was conducted at the State University College at Fredonia. The participants in his study were 130 students in psychology classes. He used a twenty-four self-reporting questionnaire, and only nine questions were directly related to the measurement of homophobia.

The questionnaire was administered to a group of undergraduate psychology students. Of the ninety-three returned questionnaires, those with the twenty-one highest and twenty-one lowest scores on the H-Scale comprised the homophobic and nonhomophobic groups. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 70-71 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Smith’s study contained parts that should be of concern and the researcher acknowledged them in his reporting of the study. Not only was the H-Scale based on a small number questions, but his questionnaire did not truly represent a scale. Smith’s arbitrary choosing of the lowest and highest twenty-one scores in determining his H-Scale is perhaps the most questionable part of his study in attempting to measure homophobia.

Smith conceded that the questionnaire did not truly represent a scale because it used a forced-choice response format rather than a continuum. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 70 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

The psychometric properties of the H-Scale and the remaining items were not reported in this study. It appears that no reliability measures of the H-Scale or the measures of the personality variables were obtained. Moreover, it is unclear whether using the twenty-one lowest scores constituted an adequate method of determining cutoff scores for categorization. It is possible that this group might have had a truncated range and not scored in a sufficiently extreme manner to warrant classification as either homophobic or nonhomophobic. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 71 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

“Thus, Smith’s H-Scale (1971) is a psychometrically questionable measure of homophobia. If psychometric properties were evaluated, they were not reported by the author. There were no established norms or acceptable validity for the H-Scale, rather arbitrary cutoffs were designated based on the twenty-one lowest scores in the sample.” (O’Donohue, and Caselles. “Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues,” p. 71 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

2. Lumby 1976

In 1976, Lumby reported in the Journal of Homosexuality his study to measure homophobia. He conducted the study on the campus of the Southerna Illinois University at Carbondale. The research participants were 120 middle-class Causasian male subjects who came from metroplitan, urban, and rural areas within the state of Illinois. There were 60 homosexual subjects and 60 heterosexual subjects. Lumby in his study converted Smith’s H-Scale by using a Likert index, with ratings from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).

Lumby (1976) converted Smiths’s H-Scale to a Likert index, with ratings from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree;), and conducted a study that purportedly assessed the validity of the measure; (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 71 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Lumby just like Smith, acknowledges basic flaws in his study. They begin with an assumption Lumby made in conducting his study. Lumby using his Likert index fails to significantly improve the measurement of homophobia.

Lumby assumed that if the H-Scale actually measured homophobia in nonhomosexuals, there would be significant differences between the responses of homosexuals and those of heterosexuals. The glaring flaw in the logic of this assumption is that although any valid measure of homophobia would be expected to discriminate between homosexuals and heterosexuals, it does not follow that a measure that discriminates between these two groups necessarily is a valid measure of homophobia. In fact, all that could be concluded from such a measure is that certain response patterns correlate positively or negatively with heterosexuality. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 71 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Lumby, however, reported that the scale cannot be considered a valid measure of homophobia because it failed to meet the minimal Guttman Scalogram requirements. This finding was attributed, in part, to the ambiguity and awkwardness of the wording of many items. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 71 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Although Lumby remedied the difficulties resulting from Smith’s (1971) forced-choice format, his Likert index does not represent a significant improvement in the measurement of homophobia. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 72 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

3. Milham, San Miguel, and Kellogg 1976

A second study attempting to measure homophobia was also reported in the same 1976 issue of the Journal of Homosexuality, which contained Lumby’s study. This was a study conducted at the University of Houston by Milham, San Miguel, and Kellogg. The study participants were a pool of 795 subjects in introductory psychology classes. Like the other two studies to measure homophobia these researchers used a quetionaire format. They had 38 belief statements where responses were made in a true-false format. There were 38 belief statements for each male homosexuals and female homosexuals for a combined total of 76 items.

The 76 items were administered to a pool of 795 subjects drawn from a population of undergraduate psychology students. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 76 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Thirty-eight belief statements were generated that which reflected a wide spectrum of opinions concerning homosexuals. (Milham, San Miguel, and Kellogg, A Factor - Analytic Conceptualization of Attitudes Toward Male and Female Homosexuals, p.4)

These researchers developed a questionnaire consisting of thirty-eight items designed to survey a broad range of attitudes and beliefs toward homosexuality. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 75 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Responses were in a true-false format. All items were duplicated to refer separately to male and female homosexuals. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 76 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Of the 3 studies conducted up until 1976, of instruments to measure homophobia Milham, San Miguel, and Kellogg’s may be considered the most methodologically sound.

Prior to the development of the IHP, Milham, San Miguel, and Kellogg (1976) conducted what appears to be the most methodologically sound investigation of attitudes toward homosexuality. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 75 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

4. Hudson and Ricketts 1980

Hudson and Ricketts’instruement for measuring homophobia is the one that is most widely used. Their study was conducted at the University of Hawaii at Manoa among students in the departments of social work, sociology, and psychology. 300 usable responses were obtained among participants on a voluntary, non-random basis. Hudson and Ricketts instrument to measure homophobia is a scale, the Index of Homophobia (IHP), consisting of 35 items with a Likert response scale.

During the fall of 1977 a brief questionnaire and three scales were administered to students in the departments of social work, sociology, and psychology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa on a voluntary, non-random basis. A total of 300 usable responses were obtained, and, while an exact record was not kept, the response rate was well over 80%. (Hudson and Ricketts, A Strategy for the Measurement of Homophobia, p.362)

The most widely used measure of homophobia was constructed by Hudson and Ricketts (1980). These researchers attempted to combine items that assessed attitudinal dimensions of homophobia, as well as affective components of the homophobic response. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 72 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings

The scale, titled the Index of Homophobia (IHP), consists of twenty-five items with a Likert response scale. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 75 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

The IHP scale besides being the most widely used instrument for measuring homophobia, is also the most empirically and psychometrically sophisticated. But questions still remain over whether this scale actually measures homophobia or a reaction to homosexuality.

Overall the developers of the IHP used a somewhat more empirical and psychometrically sophisticated approach than previous researchers who produced instruments to measure homophobia. The internal consistency of the scale was evaluated, and some validation issues were addressed by the researchers. However, significantly more research is needed before conclusions can be made about the reliability and the validity of inferences from this scale. Questions remain about whether this scale actually measures homophobia or a reaction to homosexuality. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 75 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

5. Logan 1996

The Journal of Homosexuality printed in a 1996 issue another study measuring homophobia. As with all the other studies and scales attempting to measure homophobia beginning in with Smith in 1972, Logan’s study shows that the use of the term homophobia to describe ant-homosexual behavior is inaccurate and inappropriate.
Logan’s study was conducted at the University of Virginia. The study sample comprised 207 females and 177 males from the Mental Health Adjustment and the Personality and Personal Adjustment courses. The author developed a 28-item Gay and Lesbian Response Scale (GLRS). Responses to the statements from Gay and Lesbian Response Scale (GLRS) were indicated using a 5-point Likert scale, a number 1 response was strongly agree and a number 5 response was strongly disagree.

The GLRS included statements indicative of a phobic response to gays and lesbians, and statements indicative of prejudicial responses to gays and lesbians as measured by affectual statements, stereotypical beliefs, and opinions regarding active discrimination against gays and lesbians. (Logan, Homophobia? No, Homopredjudice, p. 40)

In conclusion, the findings of this study indicate that the broad application of the term homophobia to describe anti-homosexual response is inaccurate and inappropriate and should only be used to describe those few individuals who demonstrate a true phobic response to gays and lesbians. Further, this study strongly suggests that most anti-homosexual responses fall into the category of prejudice and the use of the term homoprejudice to describe such responses is recommended. (Logan, Homophobia? No, Homopredjudice, p.50)

Limitations of homophobia

Advocates for homosexuality acknowledge the limitation of the word homophobia itself. Most problematic is that many of the inferences researchers made based on these instruments to measure homophobia are invalid due to the numerous psychometric problems with each of these homophobia scales. The word homophobia is still used because other means of expressing the concept of homophobia with more accurate words to describe what it really is, a prejudice, have failed to catch on.

Perhaps the most serious psychometric flaw involving the validation of all scales of homophobia is the absence of a pre-existing, behaviorally referenced criterion group. The validation of the homophobia instruments examined involved a criterion group designated by scores on measures of some construct that was believed to be related to homophobia, such as sexual conservatism, religiosity, or maladjustment. This defect might have been remedied by using a criterion group such as individuals who have engaged in hate crimes against homosexuals.

Thus, given the numerous psychometric problems with each of these scales, many of the inferences researchers make based upon instruments to measure the homophobia construct are invalid. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 77 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Existing psychometric measures of homophobia have been inadequate and therefore it is not clear currently whether this construct can be accurately measured. The development of the construct of homophobia appears to be in its infancy. It is of paramount importance to establish a consensus on a clear univocal definition of this term. A family of related terms could range from the very general (e.g., homonegativity), referring to any negative attitude or behavior, to the more specific. In addition, it could carve out subsets of this domain such as homophobia (e.g., an irrational fear and avoidance) or homoaggressiveness (e.g., individuals who commit illegal acts that hurt homosexuals.) (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 82 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

From now on, therefore, when we really do mean fear of homosexuals,’ homophobia’ it will be; when we are talking about hatred of homosexuals, we’ll speak (without the hypen) of homohatred,’ homohating,’ and homohaters. (Kirk and Madsen, After the Ball How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of the Gay’s in the 90s, p.XXIII)

Homophobia is a mobile polymorphous prejudice that incorporates a range of meanings, many which are nonsexual. This makes it difficult to assign a satisfactory name to homophobia. (Plummer, One of the boys Masculinity, Homophobia, and Modern Manhood, p. 305)

Clearly, previous attempts to conceptualize the congnitive dimension of reactivity toward homosexuality by means of one all-inclusive, bipolarly valenced continuum are inadequate. It would appear that heterosexuals make greater distinictions and discriminations in conceptualizating homosexuality than has been assumed previously. (Milham, San Miguel, and Kellogg, A Factor - Analytic Conceptualization of Attitudes Toward Male and Female Homosexuals, p. 9)

The results of the present study lend support to multidimensional conceptualization of responses to homosexuality. (Milham, San Miguel, and Kellogg, A Factor - Analytic Conceptualization of Attitudes Toward Male and Female Homosexuals, p. 10)

Critics of homophobia have also observed that homophobia is problematic for at least two reasons.

First, empirical research does not indicate that heterosexuals’ antigay attitudes can reasonably be considered a phobia in the clinical sense. Indeed, the limited data available suggest that many heterosexuals who express hostility toward gay men and lesbians do not manifest the physiological reactions to homosexuality that are associated with other phobias (see Shields & Harriman, 1984). Second, using homophobia implies that antigay prejudice is an individual, clinical entity rather than a social phenomenon rooted in cultural ideologies and intergroup relations. Moreover, a phobia is usually experienced as dysfunctional and unpleasant. Antigay prejudice, however, is often highly functional for the heterosexuals who manifest it. (http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/prej_defn.html)

An enemy becomes a friend

Perhaps one may find interesting that those advocating for homosexuality use the concept of homophobia. Within this concept of homophobia, it is an illness that is observed and there is need for psychological help for the one who suffers from homophobia. In a political context, there is also the idea of discrimination. Up until 1973 the view was commonly held that it was a homosexual who was ill and in need of psychological help. In 1973 those advocating for homosexuality through a three year long social/political campaign by gay activists, pro-gay psychiatrists and gay psychiatrists, not as a result of valid scientific studies was able to change the view of homosexuality as an illness. This event was the removal of homosexuality from the APA’s (American Psychiatric Association) lists of sexual disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

In 1973, by a vote of 5,854 to 3,810, the diagnostic category of homosexuality was eliminated from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association (Bayer 1981). (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 66 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Writing about the 1973 decision and the dispute that surrounded it, Bayer (1981) contended that these changes were produced by political rather than scientific factors. Bayer argued that the revision represented the APA’s surrender to political and social pressures, not new data or scientific theories regarding on human sexuality. (O’Donohue, and Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues, p. 66 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.)

Those advocating for homosexuality have taken that who once was an enemy and used them as an ally. There was an exchange in roles, the idea that homosexuality was an illness, needing a mental health cure, and creating a condition of homophobia an illness suffered by those opposing homosexuality and who are in need of a mental health cure.

Who is a homosexual? What is homophobia? Those advocating for homosexuality cannot agree on answers to these questions among themselves. But recently a new concept has arisen that of gay fatigue. There was a recent article in a Dallas newspaper about gay fatigue. The author was writing about the constant bombardment for the propagandizing of a behavior, attempting to portray it in the best light possible. While ignoring for the most part the negative consequences, the growing rates of sexually transmitted diseases among homosexuals and men who have sex with men. The loudest cry of warning about the growing possibility of a second AIDS epidemic is coming from some homosexuals themselves. Who is heeding this cry?

Warnings by homosexuals themselves of a possible second AIDS epidemic.

Is the badge of the sexual outlaw killing us? www.advocate.com/html/stories/900/900_actup.asp

Never Again www.advocate.com/html/stories/840/840_aids_cohan.asp

A midlife HIV crisis www.advocate.com/html/stories/852/852_midlifehiv.asp

Bibliography

Fone, Byrne. Homophobia A History. Metropolitan Books. New York, 2000.

Friedman, Richard C. M.D., and Jennifer I Downey, M.D. Homosexuality. The New England Journal of Medicine Oct. 6, 1994, Vol. 331, No. 4, 923-930.

Haaga, David A. F. Homphobia? Journal of Social Behavior and Personality. 1991, Vol. 6, No. 1, 171-174.

Kantor, Martin. Homophobia Description, Development, and Dynamics of Gay Bashing. Praeger. Westport, Connecticut and London, 198.

Kranz, Rachel and Tom Cusick. Gay Rights. Facts on File, Inc. New York, 2000.

Kirk, Marshall and Hunter Madsen Ph.D. After the Ball How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of the Gay’s in the 90s. Doubleday. New York, 1989.

Herdt, Gilbert. Same Sex, Different Cultures: Gays and Lesbians Across Cultures. WestviewPress. 1997.

Hudson, PhD., Walter and Wendell A. Ricketts. A Strategy for the Measurement of Homophobia. Journal of Homosexuality. Summer 1988, Vol. 5 (4), 357-372.

Lumby, PhD., Malcom E., Homophobia: The Quest for a Valid Scale. Journal of Homosexuality. Fall, 1976, Vol. 2(1), 39-47.

Logan, PhD, Colleen R. Homophobia? No, Homopredjudice. Journal of Homosexuality. 1996. Vol. 31(3), 31-53.

Miguel, MS, Christopher L. and Jim Milham, Phd. The Role of Cognitive and Situational Variables in Aggression Toward Homosexuals. Journal of Homosexuality. Fall 1976, Vol. 2 (1), 11-27.

Milham, PhD., Jim, Christopher L. San Miguel, MS. And Richard Kellogg. A Factor - Analytic Conceptualization of Attitudes Toward Male and Female Homosexuals. Journal of Homosexuality. Fall 1976, Vol. 2 (1), 3-10.

Nungessor, Lon G. Homosexual Acts, Actors, and Identities. Praeger. New York, 1983.

O’Donohue, William T. and Christine E. Caselles. Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional, and Value Issues. P. 65- 83 in Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings. Routledge. New York and Hove, 2005.

Patterson, Charolette J. Sexual Orientation and Human Development: An Overview. Developmental Psychology 1995, Vol. 31, No.1, 3-11.

Plummer, PhD, David. One of the boys Masculinity, Homophobia, and Modern Manhood. Harrington Park Press. New York, London and Oxford, 1999.

San Miguel, MS., Christopher L. and Jim Milham, PhD., The Role of Cognitive and Situational Variables in Aggression. Journal of homosexuality. Fall 1976, Vol.2 (1), 11-27.

Smith, Kenneth T. Homophobia: A Tentative Personality Profile. Psychological Reports. 1971, 29, 1091-1094.

Wright, Rogers H. and Nicolas A. Cummings. Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. New York and Hove, 2005.

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth. The Anatomy of Prejudices. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1996.

http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/9339/9475.html

http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20 an04.html

http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/prej_defn.html


Signatures: 0

forum

Date Name Message