Homophobia is a euphemism. The same goes for transphobia, possibly even more so.
I am afraid of heights. I get nausea when I can see or otherwise know that I am close to a significant drop, occasionally panic attacks. It even happens when I see other people in those situations or have to climb a ladder to reach the high shelves at work. You might call this a phobia. My mother also has a strained relationship to spatial circumstances, namely claustrophobia – the phobia is even part of the word there.
These conditions mainly concern our own persons. People might be considerate and accept that I won’t climb any church spires when we’re on holiday, no matter how amazing the view, and even medical professionals recognize it when they give my mother a sedative before sending her into the MRI scanner. Our phobias don’t affect other people in any negative ways, they’re burdens to ourselves and given the opportunity, we would surely choose not to have them. Unfortunately, a phobia cannot be treated with a change of mind.
Considering the nature of phobia, homophobia and transphobia are terribly inapt names for what they describe. Fear might be a component but a considerably more substantial part is the (however explicit) hate of queer people and the endeavour to obstruct the advancement of and strip away equality. It is not a psychological condition but the conviction that we are wrong and should not exist. Now why should I accept hate as a given? Why should I have compassion with someone who questions my validity as a person? Should I accommodate someone’s attack on my human rights?
Homophobia and transphobia are euphemisms that obscure the inherent hostility endangering and harming queer people. The lack of equality and the suffering we have to endure because of our queerness, even in “progressive” countries such as Germany, are ignored and neglected too much as it is. I do not want to be complicit in normalizing discrimination when I bear witness to my own victimization.
This was not a homophobic remark, it was hate speech.
This was not a transphobic incident, it was a hate crime.
Pat was listening to Wrable’s The Village while posting this article.