Homophobia: I’m not the enemy

Today, Pam reminded her readers that today is International Day Against Homophobia. Thanks to this reminder, I felt it important that I not let such a day pass by without some sort of comment.

Homophobia is one of those unfortunate things that all of us wish would go away. It’s a shame that in 2007, people still have to worry about whether they could lose their job if their boss finds out they’re gay. It’s terrible that same sex couples still have to worry about their legal status and the protections offered to their relationship, things that heterosexual couples take for granted every day. It’s wearying to think that we have to listen to paranoid people attempt to raise animosity towards us by making alarming references to the dreaded “homosexual agenda” and “special priveleges.” It’s annoying to listen to these same people make accusations about “recruiting attempts” (which I’m convinced is little more than projection on their part).

I think the one thing that makes all of this more bearable for me is the realization that homophobia is not about me or other gay people at all. Homophobia is actually merely a manifestation of a greater problem: Some people’s need to have something to fear and attack as “the enemy.” If people didn’t have gay people to blame for the ills of society, they’d merely have to look for something else. They’d have to find some new danger to rally against, because it’s that perceived danger and fear of it that such people need to galvanize their will and draw their strength from. Without it, I suspect most of them would be lost.

I am not the homophobes’ enemy. I’m merely the screen they have chosen to project their own inner demons upon. Their real enemy lives within themselves. And as I keep that in mind, it enables me to deal with the issue of homophobia from a completely different mindset. It enables me to fight the consequences of homophobia — such as legislative discrimination — while understanding that the underlying issue isn’t about me — or even homosexuality — at all. And for me, that realization is liberating.

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