“Homophobia isn’t a phobia, you’re not scared, you’re an asshole.”
I’ve seen this quote all over the internets over the past few days, even shared by people like George Takei (oh MY!) and Morgan Freeman. It gets huge cheers from most people, and bigoted comments from a few. And I don’t agree with either reaction.
Although I understand the sentiment and appreciate the way that quote grabs your attention, I fail to see how making sweeping generalities and insulting people is supposed to combat people making sweeping generalities and insulting people. To be honest, it shocks me just as much as some of the homophobic crap I’ve seen in response to it. It’s homophobephobic.
If history teaches us anything (and we all know it doesn’t) its that hating the people who hate you isn’t going to solve anything.
The thing is, homophobes are scared. They’re scared on a different level, they feel threatened, uneasy, they don’t understand. They have a well-defined idea of what the world should be like, and people who challenge that idea shake their world and make it scary. If that part of their ideal world isn’t true, then what else could be contested? Could it be that there’s isn’t a big guy in a nightie sitting on a cloud with a basket of kittens watching to see if you masturbate? Could it be that people with different coloured skins also have souls? Could the earth be round? Could it be that we descend from apes? Different times, different questions, same fears.
Some people relish the idea that we don’t know things. I know I do. It means that there’s more to discover, and discovery is wonderful to me. But I understand that for others uncertainty is scary. Humanity has always had a mixture of these mindsets, those who wanted to stay in the cave and those who wanted to go outside and see the glowing spot where the lightning just struck. It’s how we progress. If everyone was a daring explorer we’d have never survived. If everyone stayed in the cave, we’d still be there. We need a balance of tradition and innovation for a healthy society. What we could do without is more hate. Hate is easy, understanding is hard.
As I see it, education is the only way out of this situation. Educate the new generations, open their minds, and as we grow, learn from them. We were all the new generation once, and we will all be the old folks one day. Society evolves fast. Some people alive today have lived in societies where homosexuality was illegal. In some countries it still is. When their parents were born, segregation was accepted as normal. I’m sure some of our current laws and traditions will seem antiquated and ridiculous when the kids born today are our age.
Don’t dismiss people’s experience when you disagree with what they say. Just because they’re wrong doesn’t mean they don’t have a reason for thinking it. Try to understand, try to educate, take a deep breath before you react. Then go all Ghandi on their asses.
Peace and love, peace and love.