Homophobia intersects with fear of sexual objectification, i.e., being treated like women are within patriarchy.

Homophobia or homomisia is the irrational hatred of people who are not heterosexual or anything that deviates from heteronormativity. Internationally, homosexuality is banned in 77 countries, 7 of which it is punishable by the death penalty.[1]

One way of analysing the system that favours non-heterosexual people.

There are many levels to analyse homophobia from: cultural, known as heterocentrism or heteronormativity, to systemic, known as heterosexism, to interpersonal and internalised homophobia.

Common arguments made by homophobes

This is a list of arguments that are commonly used by people who are openly homophobic or may have some homophobic tendencies or ideas.

"It's unnatural"

This objection to homosexuality relies heavily on an appeal to nature. In addition to being fallacious, it is also incorrect. Biologists have documented homosexual behavior in hundreds of species [2]

"It's gross"

This objection is a visceral reaction and has no use outside of the mind of the observer.

"It leads to X!"

This argument is particularly common among American conservatives like Rick Santorum who have argued that acceptance of homosexuality will lead to bestiality, pedophilia, or incest [3]. This is fear mongering and a version of the slippery slope fallacy.

Origins of homophobia

Enforcement of heteronormative society by those in power either for the above or other religions create a society where non-heterosexual behavior is considered wrong or disgusting, which then teaches people inside that society that non-heterosexual behavior is wrong or disgusting thus perpetuating the cycle of homophobia.

Homophobia around the globe

Russia has enacted laws against so-called gay propaganda.

United States

In the US, the rights of QUILTBAG individuals vary state by state. Currently, 19 states and DC have marriage equality [4]. The Federal Government recognizes the validity of these marriages, but most states where marriage equality is not legal do not.

Anti-discrimination laws in the US

Visitation rights

In most states, partners of QUILTBAG individuals are not granted visitation or medical decision rights. In 2010, Barack Obama signed an executive order that any hospitals accepting Medicare or Medcaid funding to allow visitation rights, medical decision rights, and designation of widower/widow as the case may be.

Housing discrimination

Federally there is no law preventing housing discrimination against QUILTBAG individuals, however 21 states and a few major cities have passed legislation preventing housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity [5]. In 2012, the Office of Fair and Equal Housing department of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a new set of regulations that prevent discrimination in federally assisted housing.

Employment discrimination

Federally there are no statues preventing employment discrimination based on sexuality orientation or gender identity. The anti-discrimination employment laws vary state by state. Some states offer protection from all employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, some only offer it for sexual orientation, some only for state employment and some none at all. [6] The Obama administration has made moves to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity for federal employment [7]. In addition the Equal Rights Opportunity Commission has ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [8].

Hate crime laws

In 2010, 19.3% of hate crimes were motivated by a bias against sexual orientation [9]. In 2009 the Matthew Shepard Act which added sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability to protected categories in hate crimes. [10] Hate crime laws vary state to state [11]. In 1993, the Supreme Court ruled in Wisconsin v Mitchell that states are allowed to consider if a crime was motivated by the victim's status in a protected class. They ruled that this does not violate the 1st amendment right to free speech [12].

Rights of prisoners

Currently only six states permit conjugal visits for same sex couples in prison. [13]

Transgender individuals are not allowed to be housed in the prison matching their gender unless they have had genital surgery, regardless of how long they have lived as their gender. Hormone therapy is also an issue for prisoner rights. The current Bureau of Prisons policy is to allow maintaining hormone treatment of the level prior to incarceration [14]. This causes problems because the individual may not receive doses of hormones that are appropriate for their position and may not be accompanied by physical and psychological support services. It can also be difficult to provide documentation of hormone therapy prior to entering prison.

Sexual activity

Until 2003, same sex sexual activity was banned in 14 states and the US military. The Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that these laws were discriminatory. Several states have yet to repeal or strike down their sodomy laws, but the laws are unenforcable based on the decision. [15]

Military Service discrimination

Until 1993, the US military did not allow lesbian or gay individuals to serve in the US military. This lead Bill Clinton to sign the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy that allowed lesbian and gay individuals to serve in the military providing that they did not disclose their sexual orientation. In 2010, a bill was passed repealing DADT that was signed by Barack Obama, which now allows people of bisexual or homosexual orientation to serve openly in the military. [16] Currently the military has banned transgender, transexual, and intersex individuals from serving openly in the military because of Department of Defense policies that consider those medically disqualifying conditions [17]

Blood donations

Currently in the US men who have sex with men (MSM) are deferred permanently if they have had sex with a man any time from 1977 to the current day based on FDA policy[18]. The logic used by the FDA is that they should only be accepting blood donations from low risk groups and because screening techniques are not perfect, MSM are considered a high risk group and therefore should be barred from donations [19] There have been multiple calls by various organizations for the FDA to repeal this policy because it is unscientific and discriminatory [20] [21] [22].

See also


  1. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-25927595
  2. Bruce Bagemihl, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, St. Martin's Press, 1999; ISBN 0-312-19239-8
  3. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-04-23-santorum-excerpt_x.htm
  4. http://www.freedomtomarry.org/states/
  5. http://civilrights.findlaw.com/discrimination/fair-housing-laws-renters-protection-from-sexual-orientation.html
  6. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/661653
  7. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/21/executive-order-further-amendments-executive-order-11478-equal-employmen
  8. http://www.metroweekly.com/2012/04/transgender-breakthrough/
  9. http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-releases-2010-hate-crime-statistics
  10. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitol-briefing/2009/10/senate_approves_hate_crimes_me.html
  11. http://www.adl.org/assets/pdf/combating-hate/state_hate_crime_laws.pdf
  12. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=508&invol=476
  13. https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/conjugal-visits-preserving-family-bonds-behind-bars
  14. http://www.transgenderlaw.org/resources/prisoners.htm
  15. http://equalitymatters.org/blog/201108080012
  16. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/22/AR2010122201888.html
  17. http://outservemag.com/2012/01/the-new-dadt-the-militarys-ban-on-transgender-service/
  18. http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/BloodBloodProducts/QuestionsaboutBlood/ucm108186.htm
  19. http://www.fda.gov/biologicsbloodvaccines/bloodbloodproducts/questionsaboutblood/ucm108186.htm
  20. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/american-medical-association-opposes-fda-ban-gay-men/storynew?id=19436366
  21. "A Resolution 18-486 : In the Council of the District of Columbia". Dcregs.dc.gov. June 1, 2010. Retrieved 2014-8-26
  22. http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/site/ending-federal-ban-gay-blood-donations