There is a fine line between hate and discomfort, and it is time we learn the difference.
“A faggot is not a homosexual male. A faggot is any male who acts like a female… and even if I am homophobic… so what?!” -Azealia Banks
Homophobia is defined as “having or showing a dislike or prejudice against homosexual people.” This may include homophobic remarks, acts of violence, and even gaslighting. Uncomfortable defined is “causing or feeling slight pain or physical discomfort.” This is a debate that one can play devil’s advocate to, to an extent. The question is how far are we willing to go? I myself am a heterosexual woman, but I cannot count how many times I’ve been around friends and family that identify as apart of the LGBTQ community who have heard erroneous remarks; whether it be “get away from me before I hit you”, “that’s so gay”, “bi isn’t a real thing”, “I can make you straight”, “have you tried the other gender?”, or “you might like it”.
We call homophobia a variety of things to make us feel better about ourselves, except for the truth.
Now, many will try and say “homophobia is just a case of toxic masculinity” but fail to remember that homophobia is gender-less. We have got to stop making excuses for hate. Hate is blind, it doesn’t rationalize, nor does it take the time to understand, it is at times even manipulative. How many times have you heard the oldest phrase in the book — “I’m not homophobic, I have a gay friend”? What better way for one to mask their homophobia than associating themselves with an individual who has the opposite sexual orientation as them? The lengths in which those who struggle with homophobia go to prove that they aren’t indeed homophobic is baffling. It is okay for a heterosexual individual to be uninterested in a homosexual male or female who may find an interest in them, but it is not okay to try to hurt that individual or make them feel bad about who and what they are.
Where do we draw the line? Is there even a line that can be drawn? Heterosexual men and women are hit on more times than I’m sure they can count. But one thing I’ve noticed is that they do not want to throw away the entire sexual orientation after experiencing such passes. So, why do we feel the need to do so after we experience it from anyone who identifies as LGBTQ? There is a fine line between discomfort and hate.
James Baldwin once said, “Everybody’s journey is individual. You don’t know with whom you’re going to fall in love… If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many people consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.” We all have felt uncomfortable by something — there is no denying that we are only human at the end of the day. We have all felt confused by things we didn’t understand, but it is our job to at least try to. Hate should be the last resort, not the first. If we ever find ourselves reaching a point where we will never come to terms with the fact that things that are different, we should just leave them be.
Photo Credit: Jenny Markham