Today is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. #IDAHOT
How many times have we heard an anti-gay religious person or leader protest "I am not homophobic".
We hear it constantly in Australia and overseas. I hear it from the
lips of church leaders and Christians I speak to as they tell me that
they "love the sinner but hate the sin".
frequently do we hear the label homophobe given to anyone who says
anything negative against homosexuality or marriage equality. It's the quick and defining label that falls easily from the lips of an outraged gay person.
The terms homophobia, homophobic, homophobe are often problematic
word homophobia was coined in 1960's initially used to describe
heterosexual males aversion to homosexuality, homosexual men and also
the fear that others might think they are gay.
Homophobia is not exclusively heterosexual. Gay
people themselves can be homophobic. Internalised homophobia (hatred of
self) is very real for many gay and lesbian people. For those from
religious backgrounds it can remain entrenched from years of negative
conditioning about their gay selves and lurks under the surface in their
subconscious undetected in their behaviours, comments and attitudes.
the 1960's the term homophobia has evolved and expanded substantially
to include negative statements, behaviours and attitudes towards
same-sex-oriented people, their relationships and the LGBTI community
itself. Unfortunately the word phobia is strongly linked to fear so some
people, knowing that don't fear gay people, will say they are not
homophobic. But do they really know what it means?
suggested to a pastor recently, who was quite adamant that he wasn't
homophobic, that possibly only a gay person really knows what homophobia
is as they are the ones who experience it. I gave him some examples.
- Being yelled at from a passing car of strangers and called faggott or queer.
- Having a person physically threaten you because you are gay
- Walking into a room where everyone is greeted warmly but you get a cold handshake...or at worst ignored
- People distance themselves from you because they don't want to get to close to you
- Others girlfriends and boyfriends get invited to family functions but not yours
A gay person knows exactly what homophobia is. They have
experienced it many times. Sometimes from those they wished for love and
acceptance instead of rejection or suspicion. Some of us have learned
to live with it and accept it as a part of our lot in life. But it is never acceptable.
When compared to the experience of many LGBT people around the world these experiences seem trivial.
Violence, imprisonment and death hang constantly over the lives of LGBT people still in too many parts of the world
is the day when we remember the journey to acceptance and equality for
lesbian.gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people has been a
long and difficult one and most certainly is not over. A day when each
of us, gay or straight, can pledge to make a difference whether that be
in our homes, work places, nationally or internationally.
Never think your voice is not important because everyone of us adds the growing cry of equality, freedom, respect and dignity for all.
Share this post with a friend or on Facebook or Twitter.
Read and share President Obama statement on #IDAHOT
Watch and share United Nations video with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
© Anthony Venn-Brown
Anthony Venn-Brown is one of Australia's foremost commentators on faith and sexuality. His autobiography '"A Life of Unlearnin - a preacher's struggle with his homosexuality, church and faith", detailing his journey from married, high profile
preacher in Australia’s growing mega-churches, such as Hillsong, to living as
an openly gay man, has impacted 1,000';s globally. Anthony was the co-founder and former leader of Freedom 2 b[e], Australia’s largest
network of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people from Christian
backgrounds. He is also an educator
and consultant on LGBT/faith issues and leader in deconstructing
the ‘ex-gay’ myth.
Anthony is the founder and CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders
International whose mission is to end the unnecessary suffering
caused by ignorance and misinformation about sexual orientation by empowering
LGBT community members, building bridges with the Church, providing resources
and media/social networking activities.
Anthony has been twice voted ‘One of the 25 Most Influential
Gay and Lesbian Australians’ (2007 & 2009) and was a finalist for the 2011
ACON Community Hero Award.
Labels: bible and homosexuality, gay rights