A personal essay in hypertext by Scott Bidstrup If you look up "homophobia" in the dictionary, it will probably tell you that it is the fear of homosexuals. While many would take issue with that definition, it is nevertheless true that in many ways, it really is a fear of homosexuality or at least homosexuals, as we will see in this essay.
A personal essay in hypertext by Scott Bidstrup If you look up "homophobia" in the dictionary, it will probably tell you that it is the fear of homosexuals.
While many would take issue with that definition, it is nevertheless true that in many ways, it really is a fear of homosexuality or at least homosexuals, as we will see in this essay. Homophobia is widespread in America, far more widespread than most heterosexuals realize, and it is far more subtle, too.
The discrimination it inspires touches the lives of many Americans, not just gay Americans, but all Americans.
And America pays a very dear price for it as we shall see. Senate, there were several of his supporters seen carrying signs along a Virginia freeway that read, "Homophobia Doesn't Kill. There are the obvious murders inspired by hatred. Abroad, the numbers run to the hundreds to thousands, no one knows the precise number for sure, as in many countries, the deaths of homosexuals are not considered worth recording as a separate category.
But there are other ways in which homophobia kills. There are countless suicides every year by gay men and lesbians, particularly youth, which mental health professionals tell us1 are not the direct result of the victim's homosexuality, but is actually the result of how the homosexual is treated by society.
When one lives with rejection day after day, and society discounts one's value constantly, it is difficult to maintain perspective and realize that the problem is others' perceptions, not one's own, which is why suicide is several times as common among gay men as it is among straight men.
Perhaps the highest price is paid by youth. The young person just emerging into adulthood who has begun to realize that he is different, and the difference is not approved of, finds acceptance of self particularly difficult.
This is especially true when others perceive the young person as different, and persecute him as a result, with little effort made by authority figures to stop the torment. This is why gay youth commit suicide at a rate of about seven times that of straight youth.
Yet it is surprising how often homophobes actually try to prevent intervention by teachers in the schools! Well, that's probably the weakest argument of all, since biologists frequently see homosexual behavior in other animal species, and in livestock ranching, homosexual behavior is so common it is considered a problem.
Homosexual behaviors have been noted in every primate species so far studied, and in man's closest living relatives, the bonobo chimpanzees, bisexual behavior is universal.
Among humans, homosexuality is found in all cultures and with about the same frequency it is found in America. Cultural norms seem to have little influence on the incidence of homosexual behavior.
So the claim that it isn't natural becomes rather difficult to support. This is really a variation of the "it's not natural" argument, and so there's no need to reiterate what has been said in the above paragraphs, other than to say that it is the 'natural' argument with a religious overtone.
And being essentially a religious argument, it has little place in a society that believes in the separation of the powers of church and state.
It's against God's law. Well, of course this is a purely religious argument, and it presumes that the homosexual is or should be bound by the religious principles that are propounded here by the religionist.
The fact of the matter is that since this society and its government were founded on the notion of the separation of church and state, to encode in a secular law an idea that has purely religious purposes, is a clear violation of the principle of the separation of church and state.
Until the religionist can come up with a sound reason why society benefits by the outlawing of homosexual activity, then there is no moral basis for such a law if one accepts the principle of religious freedom as encoded in the doctrine of the separation of church and state. Has the person who says that ever watched sausage being made?
There are many things that go on in society that we would consider disgusting, but we don't outlaw them just because of that.
In fact, many of these activities are quite essential to the functioning of a modern society, but we simply turn our minds to other matters and don't concern ourselves with them.
Heterosexuals need to remember that they themselves are 'disgusting' to many homosexuals; it will come as quite a surprise for them to discover that the feeling is mutual. Yet it would be ludicrous for the gay person to suggest that heterosexuality ought to be persecuted; why shouldn't it work just as well the other way around?
Isn't respect and tolerance a two way street? It is the subconscious belief that if someone else is granted rights, those rights come at one's own expense. For example, one of the oft-quoted reasons why some oppose gay marriage is that it will somehow threaten the heterosexual institution of marriage.
Just how that would happen is never explained, but those who agree with the notion don't have to explain; to them it seems a reasonable proposition, because they feel the threat, even if they can't put their finger on why.
Obviously, this reason is an emotional reaction rather than a reasoned argument. Yet the fact that it is simply an emotional reaction is not relevant to the bigot; he believes that since he believes it, it must be true.
And that is good enough. No evidence is neccessary. It has been my experience that the more conservative an individual he is, the more concerned he is about being able to control his environment.
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The Church was established in , during an era of great racial division in the United States.
At the time, many people of African descent lived in slavery, and racial distinctions and prejudice were not just common but customary among white Americans. Please join the Catholic Lawyers Society of Detroit on February 14, for a Lenten afternoon of reflection.
The afternoon will begin with pm Mass at Old St. Mary's Church .