We humans are not only diverse in race, culture and language; we are also diverse in the fears we have. The origin of the fears of snakes or closed spaces can be found for instance in childhood trauma of being locked up in a closet or cultural teachings of reptiles as being evil. Phobias are real so much so that they can induce negative mental and physiological effects.
The one phobia I have never understood is that of homophobia because people who claim to have this fear are fearless when they come into contact with a homosexual, so fearless in fact that slurs roll of the tongue like hot black molasses, so fearless that raising their hands to the unknown homosexual who did not provoke them is done swiftly, so fearless that they throw curses loudly in the homosexuals path and so fearless that when the word “gay” is uttered in their direction, it becomes grounds to attack.
People “suffering” from homophobia are the only ones to have a type of phobia that is towards another human being whose sexual expression is different from theirs as if it is poisonous ot infectious.
After news broke of deputy minister Manana’s beating of a young womxn, social networks and news media condemned the act until they found out reasons for his actions; many thought they were justified. He was called (according to the responses) the worst thing ever; he was not called a rapist, it was worse than that; he was called gay by the victim.
We live in a culture that insists on the binary view of life instead of a spectrum. Gender, sexual expression and even race is seen as either this or that, male or female, heterosexual or homosexual and if it’s not white it must be black or at least a variation of black. Heterosexuality much like race is built on a theories which many are lazy to refute, much like the creation of whiteness which is a veneer created to protect privileges and absurd notions of superiority; much like the variation of melanin across the human species so is sexuality.
The fear in homophobia is that it challenges the dichotomies that we have been raised with. In a beautiful piece about how parents and society kill the friendships of young boys Mark Greene sites that when boys reach adolescents they concentrate on what they are not, this means they look at the other sex and derive who they are supposed to be by being or doing the opposite. They are not girls, they are not flimsy, they are not emotional- all virtues that are traditionally believed to be traits of the feminine- young men will sever in the creation of their identities and manhood. What this creates in young men is a repression of the true and full exploration of themselves because much as we like to think men only have a masculine energy they also embody a feminine energy, same with womxn. The repression therefore of what is traditionally believed to be feminine traits in men creates volatile beings whose identities are always threatened and provoked when compared or likened to what some believe is feminine. The feminine is weak, disposable, non autonomous, dependent and other such misconceptions, therefore the word gay to an individual who expresses that they are heterosexual is an insult. The word gay means one is less than a man and more like a womxn. This view forces us also to look into how womxn are perceived in societies; there’s no need to extrapolate as many know this is a man’s world and womxn are either obstacles or trophies to men even in the year 2017.
The fear in homophobia therefore is that one would be treated like a womxn, as vulnerable, exposed to and deserving of violence which Manana proved in beating a womxn. The fear in homophobia is that it challenges societal constructs which many have adopted as natural occurring, typical or normal- a variation must be rigorously investigated and discarded which the outrageous responses defending Manana proved. The fear in homophobia is a dangerous phobia as it is oriented towards the most vulnerable group of humans who like heterosexuals are trying to navigate life but find themselves prone to violent attacks because of a harmless variation in the sexual spectrum. The fear in homophobia is dangerous because it maintains the status quo which is womxn deserve violence be it physically, verbally and even sexually. The fear in homophobia is a social construct which enables the abuse of power towards other humans and under the guise of homophobia protects the abuser. The fear in homophobia exposes the lie of morality and points its creation to the position which lies in those lucky enough to be born with testicles and a penis.