Types of homophobia: causes and consequences

Homophobia is often defined as fear or hatred towards the homosexual community. Two feelings that, despite being different, are many times related since fear can harbor hatred and hatred can hide fear. These negative feelings are the basis of homophobia, its causes, how it is organized and how it manifests itself. If you want to know more about the types of homophobia, causes and consequences , keep reading this article from Psychology-Online.

Homophobia: meaning and origin

When homosexuality began to be considered clinically as a mental illness, back in the 1960s in the United States, a psychologist and psychoanalyst named George Weinberg coined the term “homophobia” to refer to the discriminatory attitudes of mental health professionals towards gay people.

The term homophobia emerged at a time when there was not yet a specific label to name the different forms of discrimination and hostility that homosexual people had to face, so it quickly gained popularity and spread and evolved.

Today, homophobia is the preferred signifier to refer to a vast spectrum of negative attitudes towards homosexuality.

4 types of homophobia according to the spheres in which it manifests

Homophobia is so broad that there is no single type, but we can classify it into up to four different classes:

1. Institutional homophobia

Institutional homophobia is based on established norms or laws against homosexuality. This type of homophobia also refers to state “sponsored” homophobia, which includes laws that deny fundamental human rights to the LGTBIQ + community.

2. Cultural homophobia

Cultural homophobia constitutes discrimination fostered by those social norms and values that are not written by law.

3. Personal homophobia

Personal homophobia is that which is exercised at the individual level . It refers to the private and individual point of view by which heterosexuality is considered superior to homosexuality. The psychologist Gregory Herek identified three types of attitudes, focusing on their causality, which would constitute personal homophobia:

  1. Attitudes that develop from personal experiences
  2. Attitudes that arise from one’s own identity
  3. Attitudes emanating from latent homosexuality

4. Interpersonal homophobia

Interpersonal homophobia occurs when personal homophobia towards another individual is externally manifested .

Although these typologies specify the different spheres in which homophobia manifests itself, they do not clearly delimit the different forms that this manifestation takes. Therefore, these forms are detailed below.

7 types of homophobia according to the way it is expressed

The theoretical framework of homophobia presented here identifies seven different, although interrelated, forms of discrimination against gays and lesbians, which are framed within the concept of homophobia, including those forms of prejudice that can be considered “mild” in some contexts.

5. Radical homophobia

Includes violence, an apology for violence or related actions that are classified as extreme.

6. Prohibitionist homophobia

It refers to the value, normative or regulatory systems that prohibit or condemn homosexuality. Unlike radical homophobia, it does not include physical violence as a measure to secure or enforce such prohibitions.

7. Oppositional homophobia

It refers to the rejection of the recognition of the existence of homosexuality in certain societies or the denial of recognizing homosexuality as an innate possibility.

8. Avoidant homophobia

It refers to the overwhelming desire to avoid any physical contact or interaction with homosexual people.

9. Morbid homophobia

It refers to the perception of homosexuality as a disease or as a carrier of a disease.

10. “Warm” homophobia

In this type, the individual or society is not against the homosexual practice but is against homosexual people being granted the same rights that have traditionally been associated with heterosexuality, such as marriage or adoption. They are the typical ones that say: “I think they want to be gay, but they want to have children …”

11. “Veiled” homophobia

It refers to disguised forms of prejudice towards gays and lesbians. This type of homophobia is usually subtle and can go unnoticed behind some excuse or justification – the veil – which can range from very flimsy to very elaborate.

Consequences of homophobia

Homophobia can have serious consequences at three major levels:

  • At the state level : especially in those countries where fundamental rights are denied to homosexual people or even persecuted and punished for being who they are.
  • At an interpersonal level: due to the physical and psychological violence that homosexual people can receive from homophobes.
  • At an intra-individual level: especially in homosexual people with internalized homophobia, who internalize self-rejection, which can affect their mental health, preceding depression, anxiety, demoralization, anguish, etc. In the following article, you will find the keys to identify depression and anxiety.
    Here you can read more information about sexual orientation.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

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