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Jun 16, 2016

Violent homophobia is a disease, but ‘love’ is no prophylactic

You can’t make people love and you can’t meaningfully legislate for its absence.

Helen Razer — Writer and Broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and Broadcaster

Homophobia is real and it is always ugly and it can be terrifying. I know this firsthand. It was this deep revulsion in the Western psyche for non-normative sex that delivered me, as a teen, to the office of a “corrective” psychologist. It pursued me as an undergraduate through the back streets of Newtown — arguably our nation’s queerest postcode — yelling, “Die, dyke!”

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17 comments

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17 thoughts on “Violent homophobia is a disease, but ‘love’ is no prophylactic

  1. Bronwyn Hazell

    You have posed some vitally important questions in a very clear and thoughtful manner. Thank you Helen

  2. MJM

    Thanks Helen for such a plain spoken and hard headed response. I am profoundly sorry for the families and friends of the 49 murdered in Orlando but most of the many articles I have read have been schmaltzy and of no help. An armed, punitive culture will lead to gun deaths. If we want it to stop we need to focus on precisely what is happening and deal with it. But we do not – we continue to delude ourselves that each episode is different and not the result of an underlying culture.

  3. Draco Houston

    Hear hear!

    It would of course be unkind to single out one group for doing this. But it is unfortunate that statist responses get so much traction. It is a dead end, the queer lib movement is a good example; cops couldn’t even stop butt stuff through oppression. You can jail people, but not problems.

  4. Carlene Colahan

    Thank you x

  5. Decorum

    Are you offering Bratton the plea of “disrespecting the Stonewall”? That’d actually be the perfect application of “disrespecting the ‘Bing” in the sense of pleading guilty to the lesser offence. (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/chatterbox/2001/04/disrespecting_the_bing.html)

  6. j w

    Thank you Helen. I have been struggling trying to explain the uselessness and misplaced energy of the ‘love is the answer’ approach to this tragedy, so thanks for this thoughtfully written piece. As a queer person I have seen the emotional reaction in myself that comes from that slippery fear that can follow us around. In sadness and unease it’s easy to find solace in pride and solidarity. I fear the personal and emotional nature of this tragedy is once again going to provide distraction from the real threat – the complex, brutal reality of the system and state.

  7. Brett Wilson

    Pro Homosexual Extremists use the term “Homophobia” as an ad hominem argument against those who advocate values or positions of which the user of the term does not approve. Implying those who disprove of homosexuality of having a phobia is laughable. That would imply that any person that disaproves of anything has a phobia or a fear “LOL”.

    1. drsmithy

      A phobia is an irrational fear.

      Since “disapproving” of homosexuality makes about as much sense as “disapproving” of left-handedness, phobia is the appropriate term.

      1. tony Mcconnell

        Actually a phobia is an anxiety ‘Disorder ‘. So, yes, to call somebody homophobic is to say they have a disorder. Homophobic people argue that homosexuals have a disorder, so basically it’s two people pointing fingers at each other saying something’s wrong with the other. Both are wrong.

        1. Draco Houston

          If you are going to be a pedant, at least be correct.

          -phobia, -phobic are just a suffix that is the opposite of -philia/-phillic. The specific context of that depends on where it is used and what the subject is. Nit picking the etymology is stupid when the word is clearly in common use now and not going away. A quick search of definitions offered for the word will find you ones that don’t even use the word fear.

          1. tony Mcconnell

            Not sure I’m being that pedantic. Phobia definitely applies a disorder by any definition. Any use of it implies something is wrong with you. The use of the word phillic is unrelated.

  8. tony Mcconnell

    Forget love. Can’t we just get on? You know, I help you, you help me, or at the very least we just leave each other alone.

    1. Helen Razer

      Sure. But my claim is that love and tolerance or even something milder cannot be legislated for. It can only be provided for. Which is to say, when people are less surrounded by reasons to be a-holes, they are more rarely a-holes.
      My claim is that policy must proceed from logic (it cannot proceed from love) if we are to have the means to be tolerant, loving etc My claim is that individual morality is held increasingly to be the source of all trouble. And that this blind us, for example, to the fact that the coppers rammed into the side of a neighbourhood wall with something that should only be used in warfare.

  9. The Old Bill

    Fastest growing bigotry in the world AR 🙂

  10. AR

    Why has my comment been disappeared?