"A phobia (from the Greek: φόβος, Phóbos, meaning "fear" or "morbid fear") is, when used in the context of clinical psychology, a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational. In the event the phobia cannot be avoided entirely the sufferer will endure the situation or object with marked distress and significant interference in social or occupational activities."
I have something called thanatophobia.
Thanatos = Death
Phobia = Fear
Death Fear! Yes, I am terrified beyond all comprehension of dying. I have panic attacks, I take anti-anxiety medication and I have seen a psychologist and a psychiatrist in an attempt to control my phobia. You keeping up with me so far?
Now, there are people in the world who have something called homophobia.
Homo = Same
Phobia = Fear
Same Fear! This is the fear of homosexuals (LGBTs) - people who are sexually attracted to people of the same sex. These homophobes have panic attacks, take anti-anxety medication and see psychologists and psychiatrists in an attempt to control their phobia.
Oh, wait. No they don't. Because homophobia has never been listed as part of a clinical taxonomy of phobias. Homophobia has never been listed in any Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). Why not? It's not because it's a medical oversight. It's because homophobes don't have a legitimate fear.
Homophobes have a hatred of LGBTs. They harbour contempt for LGBTs. They are prejudiced towards LGBTs. They avoid LGBTs. But it is not a phobia. It's an -ism.
An -ism indicates a belief or principle. You know, like racism.
Racists follow practices that discriminate against members of particular racial groups, for example by perpetuating unequal access to resources between groups.
Doesn't that sound suspiciously like the way 'homophobes' treat members of the LGBT community?
Homphobes believe that LGBTs are lesser people, broken people, evil people - whatever it is they have decided about every LGBT on the planet - but they do not fear them. Not like I fear death. One is an anxiety-based phobia. One is a prejudiced opinion.
Now please be aware this idea was not borne as a reaction from someone who has a legitimate clinical phobia and is trying to 'claim' the word phobia. I use my fear merely as a personal base comparison point. No, this idea comes from the opinion that the word phobia negates some of the responsibility for homophobic attitudes and beliefs.
I don't want to be thanatophobic anymore. I'm trying really hard to not be. Nobody who has a phobia wants to be so irrationally afraid of their particular trigger. But people who are 'homophobic' do have a choice. They can stop discriminating against people who are different in one minor way. They can realise that the minor way in which they do differ from the LGBT community is insignificant. It doesn't matter to them or their life if there is a man somewhere who is perfectly happy being in love with another man.
And if these people refuse to change their bigoted ways, than we should call them what they are.
|And I have freckles so STFU!|
Miss SAMawdsley xx
- Do you believe 'homophobia' is an outdated word?
- Do you think changing the word would make any difference?