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Opposition to the term homophobia

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Opposition to the term homophobia

People and groups have objected to the use of the term homophobia.

Non-neutral phrasing

Use of homophobiahomophobic, and homophobe has been criticized as pejorative against LGBT rights opponentsBehavioral scientists William O'Donohue and Christine Caselles stated in 1993 that "as [homophobia] is usually used, [it] makes an illegitimately pejorative evaluation of certain open and debatable value positions, much like the former disease construct of homosexuality" itself, arguing that the term may be used as an ad hominem argument against those who advocate values or positions of which the user does not approve. Philosopher Gary Colwell stated in 1999 that "the boundary of the term 'homophobia' is made so elastic that it can stretch around, not just phobias, but every kind of rational fear as well; and not just around every kind of fear, but also around every critical posture or idea that anyone may have about the practice of homosexuality".

In 2012 the Associated Press Stylebook was revised to advise against using non-clinical words with the suffix -phobia, including homophobia, in "political and social contexts." AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn said the word homophobia suggests a severe mental disorder, and that it could be substituted with "anti-gay" or similar phrasing. The AP's decision was criticized in some media outlets, especially those in the LGBT area, who argued that homophobia did not necessarily have to be interpreted in a strict clinical sense.

Heterophobia

The term heterophobia is sometimes used to describe reverse discrimination or negative attitudes towards heterosexual people and opposite-sex relationships. The scientific use of heterophobia in sexology is restricted to few researchers, notably those who question Alfred Kinsey's sex research. To date, the existence or extent of heterophobia is mostly unrecognized by sexologists. Beyond sexology there is no consensus as to the meaning of the term because it is also used to mean "fear of the opposite" such as in Pierre-André Taguieff's The Force of Prejudice: On Racism and Its Doubles (2001).

Referring to the debate on both meaning and use, SUNY lecturer Raymond J. Noonan, in his 1999 presentation to The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) and the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) Conference, states:

The term heterophobia is confusing for some people for several reasons. On the one hand, some look at it as just another of the many me-too social constructions that have arisen in the pseudoscience of victimology in recent decades. (Many of us recall John Money’s 1995 criticism of the ascendancy of victimology and its negative impact on sexual science.) Others look at the parallelism between heterophobia and homophobia, and suggest that the former trivializes the latter... For others, it is merely a curiosity or parallel-construction word game. But for others still, it is part of both the recognition and politicization of heterosexuals' cultural interests in contrast to those of gays—particularly where those interests are perceived to clash.

Stephen M. White and Louis R. Franzini introduced the related term heteronegativism to refer to the considerable range of negative feelings that some gay individuals may hold and express toward heterosexuals. This term is preferred to heterophobia because it does not imply extreme or irrational fear.

 

wikipedia.org

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