It’s hate, not fear. Get over it.
“I hate the word homophobia. You’re not scared. You’re an asshole.”
Morgan Freeman (attributed on the Web, but you never know…)
I hate the word “homophobia,” too. For one thing, it’s wrong, unless you’re terrified that you are gay, in which case, honey, open the closet door. You probably are, so embrace it.
No, you aren’t scared. You’re a hater. I found a wonderful site that talks about about hate words – how lovely to have a word for every occasion. Here are some excerpts from this marvelously informative page:
One who hates men; especially, a woman. <– And indeed, sometimes, I do, but I’m working on it.
A fanatical misandrist, a person consumed with hatred for men and driven by the belief that men are the source of all the world’s problems. <– I have resisted the urge to give in to this.
Someone who hates women. <– Sure seems to be a lot of these around.
A morbid hatred of children, sometimes including one’s own. <– I knew a father of three who felt this way.
What I didn’t find was a word for people who hate gay people, but that’s easy enough to remedy. Homomisia. Not homophobia. Not fear of what Meg Christian sang about 40 years ago:
“Here come the lesbians
Here come the leaping lesbians
We’re going to please you, tease you
Hypnotize you, try to squeeze you
We’re going to get you if we can
Here come the lesbians…”
I confess, before I got it, I was homophobic. I didn’t want somebody’s whose sexual interest I did not share pointed in my direction. But then, I felt that way about a lot of men, too, so was I heterophobic when it came to men? Yeah, except for a very few. It seemed I was an equal opportunity scaredy cat. But was I a homomisiast? Nah.
A lot of folks are, though. Watch their faces when they see people on the LGBT spectrum behaving like the individuals they are – the sneers, the distaste – the hate. I saw that on the faces of white people during desegregation, too, and y’know what? It’s ugly no matter who that face is turned on. It’s ugly and it’s stupid.
It’s ugly because it’s hate and hate is hideous. Just the mere appearance of hate is hideous, but extrapolate it into all the actions of hate and their consequences and hideous becomes monstrous. It’s stupid because it’s pointless and it cheats everybody. It cheats people of the richness that comes with love, acceptance and open-heartedness. My world is rich, richer, richest when I delight in all the lovely permutations humans come in.
I am glad on every level that I know people of different emotional/affectional orientation (that’s another column, but to describe it as merely “sexual” orientation is to rob it of all its glorious dimensions). My world would be so much poorer if I knew only people born in this country and of my own culture (upper middle-class academic with one Jewish adoptive parent). My existence would be far more monotone if I didn’t enjoy the love and friendship of people of every shade (including, occasionally, people even whiter than I am). If I hated, I might well even hate myself, given I’m probably a bubble off true when it comes to being neurotypical. I would certainly hate myself thoroughly for even now not being the “right” body size.
When I open my arms and embrace all the lovely variety of people, when I delight, when I celebrate (not just tolerate – a vastly inadequate word), every bit of what I give in this regard I get back multifold and the joy expands geometrically.
It seems so obvious, people. Don’t hate. Don’t fear how people differ from you. Our differences are far fewer than the ways in which we are all alike. The minute we let go of all that hate, that distrust, that fear, then, as we walk away from it, we can laugh at the days when too many of us were this:
Someone who has a hatred or distrust of all people ([hu]mankind).