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The word "homophobia" gets tossed around a lot. Technically, a "phobia" is an unreasoning fear of something. People may have an irrational fear of water, for example, or heights, that makes them panicky even when there's no real danger. So "homophobia" is an unreasonable, irrational fear of homosexuality, and/or of people perceived to be homosexuals.

But the word is also used to refer to people whose fear is not based on a psychological problem, but on ignorance or prejudice -- refusal to learn the facts. Technically, that's misusing the word, but what can you do?

Heterosexism is now used to mean people who hate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer individuals, as it does not have the false definition of fear, when the person may not actually fear gay people, just hate them.

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13y ago
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3mo ago

Homophobia can stem from a variety of factors such as ignorance, fear of the unknown, religious beliefs, social conditioning, or personal insecurities. It often results from a lack of understanding or empathy towards individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ and can be perpetuated by societal norms and prejudices.

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