Taken from: Fondation Emergence (IDAH)
It's all the negative attitudes that can lead to rejection and to direct or indirect discrimination towards gay men, lesbians, and bisexual, transsexual or transgender people or toward anyone whose physical appearance or behaviour does not fit masculine or feminine stereotypes. The following are variants of homophobia:

  • Bi-phobia: aversion towards bisexual people or bisexuality;
  • Gay-phobia: aversion towards gay men or male homosexuality;
  • Lesbophobia: aversion towards lesbian women or female homosexuality.


Also…. Heterosexism is the belief that everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the only acceptable way of being. This belief, which relies on the idea that the majority rules and is therefore normal, is often the source of homophobia.

Both on a conscious or sub-conscious level, homophobia surfaces in various ways and can even be internalized.

  • Homophobic Attitudes - Feelings or convictions that gays and lesbians are abnormal or sick
  • Homophobia-inspired Heterosexism - The false belief that everybody is heterosexual and that only heterosexuality is acceptable and legitimate' This belief is based on the idea that the majority sets the norm
  • Homophobic Language - The use of vocabulary and expressions that can span from jokes to insults
  • Interpersonal Homophobia - Non-verbal displays of being ill-at-ease, feeling unsafe or experiencing fear when in contact with gay men and/or lesbians
  • Institutionalized/Systemic Homophobia - The built-in institutional practice of putting gays and lesbians at a disadvantage
  • Opportunistic Homophobia - Being interested in homosexuality solely for financial or personal gain, and not wanting to be associated with being homosexual or with gay men and lesbians
  • Internalized Homophobia - An often sub-conscious form of homophobia that is a product of education and social values passed down by society' Gay men and lesbians, too, can adopt homophobic behaviour
  • Condoned (passive) Homophobia - Silence or lack of response to acts of homophobic language or behaviour that call for someone to intervene and put an end to them
  • Homophobic Violence - An extreme display of homophobia that leads to violence and can range from verbal assault to hate crimes


NOTE: if you have been a victim of homophobia it is important to talk about it and seek help or support – we recognize that this is not an easy task!

Have you heard about the International Day Against Homophobia? It falls every year on May 17 and many AIDS Service Organizations or local LGBTQ groups host events. Visit: http://www.homophobiaday.org


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