How Homophobia,like Heterosexual Privilege, Hurts Us All

Homophobia is the irrational fear, hatred of, aversion to, or discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people or behavior. Homophobia may be expressed by people of any sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. There are many incidents of homophobia that happen every day on a variety of levels from overt to more subtle occurrences.

You do not have to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer to be negatively affected by homophobia. Though homophobia actively oppresses LGBTQ individuals, it also hurts those who identify as heterosexual. Homophobia and being unaware of heterosexual privilege hurts all of us in these ways:

  • Places people into rigid, tradition-based gender roles that may inhibit a person’s creativity and self-expression.
  • May keep those who identify as heterosexual from forming close and intimate relationships with members of their own sex for fear of being perceived as LGBTQ
  • Prevents some people from developing an authentic self-identity—either by limiting choices of LGBTQ-identified people or by reinforcing heteronormative stereotypes and expectations on those who identify as heterosexual, such as marriage and having children
  • Stigmatizes those who identify as heterosexual too—children of LGBTQ parents; parents of LGBTQ children; individuals who are perceived or labeled by others as LGBTQ; and friends of LGBTQ-identified people