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What is Homophobia? When looking in the dictionary, you will most likely read that homophobia is a fear of homosexuality. However, this fear can vary from insignificant to such that will cause enormous problems in the society. Nowadays homophobia is being discussed in all kinds of media, and hundreds of researchers try to find solutions to this painful issue. For my paper, I decided to present three vivid examples of homophobia. The first one is from Journal of Homosexuality (Heterosexual masculinity and homophobia: A reaction to the self?
written by P. S. Theodore and S. A. Basow). The authors state that although much research has examined predictors of homophobia in men, little interest has been given to the predictors of homophobia in women.
The recent study held by the authors examined how self-esteem, self-discrepancy (how much females believe they fit others expectations of how they should proceed with respect to gender-stereotyped attributes), and gender-attribute importance (how significant sex stereotypes are to their sex identity) related to homophobia in 71 primarily White and middle-class college women. Other predictors evaluations were gender role attitudes, authoritarian attitudes, and degree of getting in touch with with lesbians and gay men. Consequences indicated that unlike for college men, self-discrepancy did not associate with feelings toward lesbians. The highest associations with homophobia for college women were authoritarian attitudes, belief in sex role equality, extent of contact with gay men and lesbians, and significance of female attributes to participants femininity. The only major predictor, though, was authoritarian attitudes, which accounted for 62 % of the variance.
Their research that has observed attitudes toward gay men and lesbians individually has found that mens feelings toward gay men are more negative than mens attitudes toward lesbians, while womens feelings are the same toward both groups of homosexuals. Although their research has found that different types of bigotry split some analogous correlates, homophobia appears to have some unique predictors. Rightwing authoritarianism has been found to be principally predictive of negative feelings toward homosexuals. People who score high on authoritarianism are differentiated as admitting established values and standards, acquiring an eagerness to submit to recognized authorities, and demonstrating a trend to aggress against those condemned by the authorities.
Because those high in authoritarianism are committed to keeping the established family structure, they feel endangered by liberalization and people who make threats to their conservative principles, such as homosexuals. Other horrible example of homophobia is the murder of homosexual Matthew Shepard. Seeking to lessen hate and anti-gay cruelty among teens, the New York-based Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) commissioned a PSA featuring Judy Shepard, whose son Matthew was roughly killed in a hate crime that took place a year ago and brought public interest. The piece starts with a stylized graphics series in which the words Fighting Words flash on screen in rapid sequence with different type treatments. It then shifts to live-action showing a series of teen boys going in a hostile way toward the camera and threateningly shouting anti-gay epithets faggot, queer, homo - in a high school locker room. An emotional Judy Shepard then insists, The next time you use words like these, think about what they really mean.
The spot ends with more graphics: a picture of Matthew Shepard with copy reading: Judy Shepard's son, Matthew, 1976 - 1998 Murdered because he was gay / end hate. National proponents of hate crime laws were immediate to overtake judgment: Wyoming where the murder took place, rather than being The Equality State Wyoming's official motto, adopted after it became the first state in the nation to grant women the right to vote - was really the Hate State. Even as Shepard's anguished parents reaffirmed on Nbc's Dateline and in Vanity Fair that they did not feel like their sons death used in a campaign for hate crime legislation or any other political cause, groups such as the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force (NLGTF) inferred that the parliament had not simply refused to struggle against bigotry but itself presented bigotry for failing to surpass the appropriate bill. If not now, when? was saying NLGTF Executive Director Kerry Lobel in his interview with Kathy Desalvo. We are extremely disappointed that Wyoming refused to take real leadership on this issue.
Media watchers say the violence obvious in the Shepard murder led to the medias taking them much more acutely than before. What seems to be calling for the compassion and attention of the community is the astonishing sexual sadism of this slaughter. In usual killings, people are beaten or shot. That does not seem to be sufficient for the murderers of homosexuals. They must break every bone in their face or stab them 30 times. I am not sure Americans understood the depths of hatred before they heard about these crimes.
Another unconfirmed emotional response, but not an actual danger is an irrational fear of rape. This is most likely the most emotional and irrational of all of the homophobes fears, but is possibly the most widespread. It is the derivation from the old saying about covering your butt and several other analogous cautions. Yet, the fact is that there are very, very few gay men who would like better to have sex with heterosexual men, principally those who would not be willing to collaborate. Only a narcissist would suppose that forced sex with himself would be preferable to mutual and appreciated sex with someone else. Yet, it is remarkable to me how many heterosexual men in fact, subconsciously, at least, feel this way.
Maybe this reveals something about the universality of narcissism! There are very few occurrences of homosexual rape of heterosexuals, and the probability of becoming a victim are far less than being struck by lightening. However, this does not alleviate the fear. Words: 957 Bibliography: Desalvo, Kathy Fighting hate with words: Judy Shepard speaks out in awareness campaigns. Chicago Tribune, October 29 1999; Here, J. Stigma and sexual orientation: Understanding prejudice against lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals (pp. 82 - 107).
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; Theodore, P. S. , & Basow, S. A. Heterosexual masculinity and homophobia: A reaction to the self? Journal of Homosexuality, January 15 2001.
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Research essay sample on Matthew Shepard Hate Crime