Homophobia is usually defined as fear or hatred towards the homosexual community. Two feelings that, despite being different, are often related since fear can harbor hate and hate can hide fear. These negative feelings are the basis of homophobia, its causes, how it is organized, and how it manifests itself. If you want to know more about the types of homophobia, causes, and consequences, keep reading this article from Bigmatrimonial.
Homophobia: meaning and origin
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When homosexuality came to be considered clinically as a mental illness, back in the 1960s in the United States, a psychologist and psychoanalyst named George Weinberg coined the term “homophobia” to refer to the discriminatory attitudes of mental health professionals towards gay people.
The term homophobia came up at a time when there was not yet a specific label to name the different forms of discrimination and hostility that gay people had to face, so it quickly gained popularity and was spreading and evolving.
Today, homophobia is the preferred signifier to refer to a vast spectrum of negative attitudes toward homosexuality.
4 types of homophobia according to the spheres in which it manifests
Homophobia is so broad that there is not a single type, but we can classify it into up to four different classes:
1. Institutional homophobia
Institutional homophobia is based on norms or laws established against homosexuality. This type of homophobia also refers to “state sponsored” homophobia, which includes laws that deny fundamental human rights to the LGTBIQ + community.
2. Cultural homophobia
Cultural homophobia constitutes discrimination promoted by those social norms and values that are not written by law.
3. Personal homophobia
Personal homophobia is that practiced at the individual level. It refers to the private and individual point of view by which heterosexuality is considered superior to homosexuality. Psychologist Gregory Herek identified three types of attitudes, focusing on their causality, which would constitute personal homophobia:
- Attitudes that develop from personal experiences
- Attitudes that arise from one’s identity
- Attitudes emanating from latent homosexuality
4. Interpersonal homophobia
Interpersonal homophobia becomes when personal homophobia towards another individual manifests itself externally.
Although these typologies specify the different spheres in which homophobia manifests itself, they do not clearly delimit the different forms that such manifestation takes. Therefore, these forms are detailed below.
7 types of homophobia according to the way it is expressed
The theoretical framework of homophobia presented here identifies seven different, although interrelated, forms of discrimination towards gays and lesbians, which are framed within the concept of homophobia, including those forms of prejudice that can be considered “slight” in some contexts.
5. Radical homophobia
Includes violence, advocacy of violence or related actions that are classified as extreme.
6. Prohibitionist homophobia
It refers to the value, normative or regulatory systems that prohibit or condemn homosexuality. Unlike radical homophobia, it does not include physical violence as a measure to secure or force such prohibitions.
7. Negativist homophobia
It refers to the refusal to acknowledge the existence of homosexuality in certain societies or to the denial of recognizing homosexuality as an innate possibility.
8. Avoidant homophobia
It refers to the overwhelming desire to avoid any physical contact or interaction with gay people.
9. Morbid homophobia
It refers to the perception of homosexuality as a disease or as a carrier of a disease.
10. Homophobia “lukewarm”
In this type, the individual or society is not against homosexual practice, but against homosexual people being granted the same rights that have traditionally been associated with heterosexuality, such as marriage or adoption. They are the typical ones that say: “to me that they want to be gay seems very good to me, but that they want to have children…”
11. “Veiled” homophobia
It refers to the forms of prejudice disguised towards gays and lesbians. This type of homophobia is usually subtle and can go unnoticed behind some excuse or justification – the veil – which can range from very flimsy to very elaborate.
Consequences of homophobia
Homophobia can have serious consequences on three main levels:
- At the state level: especially in those countries where homosexuals are denied fundamental rights or are even persecuted and punished for being the way they are.
- At the interpersonal level: for both physical and psychological violence that homosexual people can receive from homophobes.
- At the intra-individual level: especially in homosexual people with internalized homophobia, who internalize self-rejection, which can have an impact on their mental health, preceding depressions, anxiety, demoralization, anguish, etc.
This article is merely informative, in Bigmatrimonial we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.