Homophobia: A Social Issue that Affects Everyone
Homophobia can be defined as a fear of those whose sexual orientation is homosexual. Often times, this develops into an almost paranoia that causes the individual with the phobia to behave adversely towards even those individuals who are simply perceived as being gay. Homophobia is not just a social aversion which negatively affects those who are avoided or harassed due to their sexual orientation, it is a social epidemic which spreads and perpetuates social exclusion and hatred. Homophobia is rather serious as it is the opposite of tolerance and equality. Only through education, community efforts and unification as well as common understanding; can the social spread of homophobia be addressed and eliminated.
Homophobia does not solely stand for a general fear or dislike of homosexuals. Acts of violence towards homosexuals can often be termed as an action fueled by homophobia. One viewpoint perpetuated by the anti-gay movement is that HIV is a ‘plague against gay men from God”. This became a rather popular right wing Christian platform against homosexuality, during HIV awakened during the 1980’s. More than just an excuse for those who were uneducated and of a prejudice nature prior to the spread of the notion that HIV is a gay disease, biased media coverage can also be faulted for the up rise of anti-gay hysteria. In not only the U.S. but in other countries such as England, violence towards gays has increased exponentially. Hate crimes, once thought to stem mostly from racially motivated hatred, have increased in occurrence towards homosexuals as a result of homophobia.
One of the major reasons that people develop homophobia is because of fear and lack of knowledge. Educating people on the fact that first of all, homosexuality is not a choice but an orientation which one is born with. Secondly, teaching an attitude of tolerance as a mandatory part of public school education, along with the encouragement of students to actively celebrate diversity will enhance communication and understanding between the gay and strait communities in general. Proper and informed sexual education in schools will educate students on the matter of HIV and AIDS contraction. A simply inclusion of how one can contract or avoid HIV will put to rest any of the fallacies of how and why HIV is actually spread. The attitude of hate which leads to social rejection and violence, are certainly a product of learned behavior which almost always originates with what one is taught at home.
By reinforcing an attitude of tolerance and kindness, parents will be more readily raising a new generation of individuals who respond to those that are different in a manner conducive to the very essence of humanity. It is also important for parents to get involved on a school level to make sure that their children are in fact, being taught to respect each and every human being that they come in contact with thereby fostering a society which aims to eliminate toxic social diseases such as homophobia, racism, religious prejudice and class systems. Proper health and sex education will further ensure that few misconceptions about the source and cause of HIV, will be passes around from individuals into society itself. Lastly, the ideology that we are all unique individuals but equal in worth and relevance, will eventually spread into the farthest reaches of social systems eventually serving to act as a very large and effective weapon against homophobia.
Avert, 2008. “Homophobia, prejudice & attitudes to gay men and lesbians”, retrieved from website at: http://www.avert.org/hsexu3.htm
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