Truly, I am not one for debating semantics. Is it who or whom? Then or than? Affect or effect? I have much better things to do than waste my time caring about such nonsense. However, when it comes to one word, in particular, I will talk till I’m blue in the face about the meaning and usage of it - that is ‘homophobia’.
The word homophobia is a euphemism for “uneducated dimwit”. No one is homo’phobic’. A phobia is not just a fear of something, it is a psychiatric diagnostic term that is used to describe an utterly paralyzing fear of something. The kind of fear that plunges you into shaking, cold-sweats, the kind of fear that makes you feel as if the entire world has suddenly crumbled right at your feet - and if you are the 1 in a billionth person who truly has a phobia of homosexuals then I sincerely apologize, this article is not for you.
However, for the other millions of people who don’t have a genuine phobia of homosexual people, then strap yourselves in ladies and gentlemen because this article is for you.
At the root of it all, homophobia is indeed a fear, but not a fear of gay people; it is a fear of the unknown, a fear of something they cannot understand and don’t care to.
The term homosexual for some is synonymous with prostitutes, sex offenders, and the criminally insane; and truly, if that was all you’d ever been fed to believe about gay people, I would be scared too!
The root of discrimination against gay people is simple ignorance. An uneducated belief that people who are gay are choosing to be that way, a belief that “the gays are coming”, that they’re out to convert your children, that somehow by giving gay people equal rights it will take away from yours.
At the root of homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, racism, you name it, is indeed a fear, but not a fear of The Gays, The Blacks, The Jews...it’s a fear of the unknown. It’s a fear rooted in ignorance, lack of education, and a systemic belief that “the other” is something to be feared.
So while I have no desire to debate in the areas of grammar or syntax, I will defend with the utmost vigour the true meaning of the word “homophobia”.