Okay, my question is… why do people refer to people who don’t agree (or maybe even like) queer or trans*people as “homophobes” and “transphobes”? Just because you DON’T AGREE or DON’T LIKE someone doesn’t mean that you’re AFRAID of them - hence the whole “phobia” part attached to that word.
I always thought this was pretty obvious, but the phobia isn’t really in regards to gay or trans people themselves—that’s clearly ridiculous—but homosexuality/gender variance in general. Homophobes are afraid that their attraction to the opposite sex isn’t as concrete or obvious to others as they’d like. This is why most hetero people (and people who claim to be hetero) get so upset—like unusually angry—whenever someone implies that they’re gay. They’re either afraid that there’s some truth to that, or that someone will think that about them, which is apparently the worst thing imaginable, I guess.
Transphobia is kind of a similar thing, but with people’s concepts of their own gender instead of (or along with) sexuality. These people believe that if they legitimize trans people’s existence in any way, that they might be as manly/womanly as they thought. Trans people are good evidence that being born with certain parts, doesn’t make you a man or a woman, and since that’s the main bit of evidence most people use to define their gender, admitting that would put their gender into question. It’s sort of like why even many of the bravest cis men are deathly afraid to buy tampons for women or hold their purses.
There’s actually quite a bit of of an overlap between the two as well. I can’t speak for the experiences of trans dudes, but trans women will often have many, erm, admirers, who are more than willing to have sex with them in private, but have a near-impossible time finding people who are willing to be seen with them in public, as they are super scared of being seen as gay—despite the fact that trans women are women.
I guess to sum it up, and it’s way more complicated than I’m really capable of explaining, anti-LGBTQ bigots aren’t afraid of giant bands of LGBTQ people raiding their towns and cities, but of the potential for homosexuality and gender variance within themselves.
Yes, that is phobia.
What I am talking about is a general dislike or disapproval of “lifestyle choice”. What if say you’re Christian, and you don’t agree that gay people should be allowed to marry and that what they’re doing is a sin? That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re AFRAID that you’re going to become like them if you agree with their “lifestyle choices”; it just simply means… you don’t agree. YET, lots of people would call those Christians homophobes, when that is clearly not what they are.
The bigots in my examples aren’t afraid they’ll turn into gay people, they’re afraid that either they already are gay (and don’t know it) or that people will know or think they are.
The people who hide their bigotry behind their Christianity have some of those fears, but they are more afraid of society legitimizing LGBTQ people. Hence, why instead of simply not getting married to someone of their own gender and going about their business, they go really far out of their way (making special efforts to vote, donate millions of dollars to lobbying groups, and protesting) to take that ability away from everyone.
The same people are often literally afraid that LGBTQ people and groups are working day and night to convert their children. In fact, here’s a case wherein a school in Minnesota refused to put a stop to anti-gay bullying—despite the fact that it lead to a rash of teen suicides—because the local evangelicals were afraid that the school would encourage homosexuality.