Homophobia is the hatred, contempt, prejudice, aversion or fear of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. It is a very serious issue and causes harm to many people. It can be based on an irrational fear and may be related to religious beliefs.
Homophobic attitudes and behaviours include a dislike of LGBT people, mistrust or hatred of them, discrimination and bullying and misunderstandings about what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. They can also be based on a belief that homosexuality is a sickness or that it is dangerous.
Some examples of homophobia include using the word “gay” as an insult, not wanting to be friends with LGBTQIA+ people, thinking that someone who is LGBT is likely to seek sex and other forms of sexual activity, not accepting same-sex attraction in themselves or being unable to come to terms with it, believing that lesbian, gay and bisexual men and women only want to have sex, mistaking gendered behaviour for orientation and assuming that all LGBT+ people are cishet (male or female).
Internalized homophobia can cause great distress and discomfort in those who experience same-sex attraction. It can lead them to hide their orientation, not accept or identify with it, try to control their sexual desires, not seek support for it or use sex and other forms of orienting behaviour as a form of self-medication. This can lead to depression and even PTSD. Developing a better understanding of the lives and experiences of LGBTQIA+ people can help dispel homophobia.