chapter
Homophobia
Pages 14

Homophobia is the fear or hatred of gay people and homosexuality. The term is usually used without regard to gender, although in some instances “lesbophobia” and “antilesbianism” are employed to denote enmity toward lesbians in particular. Homophobia is sometimes distinguished from heterosexism and heterocentrism, which refers to “a belief system that values heterosexuality as superior to and/or more ‘natural’ than homosexuality.” In this context, heterosexism and heterocentrism are used to describe more subtle expressions of prejudice while homophobia is employed with specific reference either to psychological reactions against homosexuality or overt discrimination against gay people, motivated by hatred. However, a number of commentators have pointed out that homophobia and heterosexism exist on a continuum of antigay attitudes and behaviors, and homophobia is often used to designate any form of antihomosexual bias.