By Maria Patroni, Maria Tomboulidi, Klarissa Trasani and Xenia Tsaousi (B Class)
“I am not gay, although I wish I were, just to piss off homophobes’’
What is called Homophobia?
Homophobia can be defined as an extreme and irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexual people. It represents fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. While adults with homophobia realize that these fears are irrational ,they often find that facing, or even thinking about facing, the feared situation brings on a panic attack or severe anxiety.
LGBT is the acronym of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Homophobia manifests in different forms. Many of them are Interpersonal Homophobia which is individual behavior based on personal homophobia. Cultural Homophobia: This which is the form that is caused by social norms in order to correct the sexuality of the LGBT people and Internalized Homophobia which is the form of Homophobia is also known as ”Personal Homophobia”; is prejudice based on a personal belief that the LGBT are sinful, immoral, inferior to heterosexuals, or even incomplete with women and men.
Homophobia is a worldwide phenomenon and has severe repercussions not only to the society but also to LGBT people themselves. However it also affects young youth in many ways.
How homophobia affects LGBT youth…
Homophobia affects LGBT people and especially the young ones in many ways. First of all, homosexual people feel isolated, lonely and even ashamed because homophobia creates an environment in which LGBT youth may have to face harassment and even violence in their schools, communities and/or homes. Another serious consequence of homophobia is that it contributes to the self-doubt that leads many young LGBT people to the use of drugs and/or alcohol to numb their feelings and feel better. Of course, that affects their health and can probably lead to death. And we shouldn’t forget that many students drop out of school and even run away from their homes because they are victims of homophobic bullying and in many cases, LGBT youth think about or even attempt suicide. Surveys show that many of the youth who kill themselves are LGBT. Last but not least, many LGBT youth “act straight” trying to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity and they don’t accept their true selves feeling guilty just because they are different.
How homophobia affect straight youth
Homophobia affects straight youth as well…
It pressures straight people to act unkindly or even cruelly towards LGBT people and encourage bullying and cruelty toward anyone whose appearance or behavior isn’t sufficiently “macho” or “feminine” (from the viewpoint of the bully). Many people who don’t particularly disagree with homosexuality behave harshly to LGBT people just because this is expected from their social groups and the society they grew up in, in general. In addition, it destroys family relationships. Some parents (and other family members) often break off their relationship with a member of their family when they announce that their sexual orientation is different from the “normal”. It is really sad when something like that happens because someone’s sexuality has nothing to do with their personality and it definitely isn’t a reason to stop considering a person as family.
Furthermore, homophobia forces straight people to act “straight,” limiting their individuality and self-expression. Young people often choose a certain way of dressing and behaving in order to “prove” that they are straight because they are afraid of people even considering that they are homosexual. As a result, straight people think twice before befriending LGBT people, not because they don’t like them, but because they don’t want others to question their sexuality.
In conclusion, homophobia makes it nearly impossible for people to appreciate diversity and the wonderful variety that exists among all people.
Everyone, and especially young people who are usually more open-minded, have the right and obligation to raise awareness about homosexuality and LGBT people and try to eliminate homophobia in order for our society to progress and all its members to live without being ashamed of their identity and choices.