Posted: Jun 20, 2015 5:02 pm
by Matthew Shute
As a kid at school I was keenly aware that, if anyone was identified as being gay, that was like that kid walking around with a target floating above his head, for the purposes of name-calling and other bullying. There was something fearful about the label, at least in those terms, of potentially being singled out and targeted. I must've internalised that quite a lot because, when I first encountered homoerotic scenes in movies and so on, my immediate reaction was neither repulsion nor attraction - it was me worrying about how I was going to respond to it. "Shit, what if this brings on homosexual feelings? What if I find I'm really into this?" That was honestly the kind of stupid stuff going through my head. I wouldn't want to look at the screen in case I found I liked it. And if I did... oh noes! Game over.

But, you know, 1 Corinthians 13:11.

Sure, for all I know some people have an innate, visceral sense of repulsion to seeing two men kissing or whatever. I've never had that reaction, but it doesn't mean that others do not. Perhaps the same could be said for some arachnophobia, too. I had a bad case of arachnophobia, still have some remnants of it, but I mostly overcame it. Supposing you were an arachnophobe, why wouldn't you want to overcome that phobia, irrespective of the cause(s) or origin? You could go through life feeling irrational panic and discomfort, brought on by harmless arachnids, or you could work at it, and get to the stage where you can see a huge darting spider on TV, or even have one run across your arm, without freaking out about it. I can't understand why anyone would want to put up with the former.

Nobody has a gun to anyone's head, saying, change the way you feel about homosexuality on some deep visceral level... or else. But IF someone's homophobia is causing that person a lot of discomfort, and especially IF it's making life unnecessarily difficult for others around him/her, that person has to realise that he/she is the one with the problem. No one else is obliged to structure society around the neuroses or other aversions of someone who reacts badly to what others take in their stride. Just as my arachnophobic former self couldn't expect reality to conform to my dislike of spiders, by having all spiders disappear, a homophobe can hardly expect not to occasionally encounter a gay couple holding hands and kissing. If that possibility is simply too much to bear, like someone with claustrophobia having to lie in a coffin, well, you could lock yourself in a room and never turn on the TV... or you could try to gradually overcome the aversion.


If it's not that bad, no sense of panic, just a case of preferring not to see gay sex if given the choice.. well, that's pretty easy to avoid, I would think. If we're talking about stuff on TV, there's an off button. If we're talking about gay porn on the internet, just don't search for gay porn on the internet.