Okay a true phobia involves fear, not hatred. Yet we sling homophobia around when we mean that people hate gays and lesbians. Yet, maybe we aren’t. I’m beginning to strongly believe that people who are homophobic are afraid that others will find out that they are homosexual and they act on that fear in anger and hatred.
In a utopian society, children will be brought up to value acceptance, embrace difference and replace judgement with understanding. However, reality has it that many kids are still conditioned by the belief that to be gay is to be wrong.
Of course, this is not always the case and many families and communities are exceptional in discouraging prejudices. From personal experience, since coming out in my late teens, I’ve never been made to feel uncomfortable in any way by either family or friends – though the fear of what I may have faced was certainly a deterrent in accepting myself earlier.
Though for the kids who didn’t have the encouraging surroundings like myself and many others, where little to no acceptance is shown from anything considered ‘different’, part of the growing up process meant breaking free of certain learned behaviours or prejudices.