While society has progressed overtime in a way to make all people feel equal and acceptable, the social order is yet to make homosexuals feel accepted in their community; therefore, homophobia has had an enormous negative impact on all citizens today. ?For example, many LGBT people have become homeless as a result of being rejected by their families after revealing their sexual orientation. In the US, between 20 and 40 percent of young homeless people are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.? Despite the issue?s intricacy, there are some possible solutions to decrease the effect of homophobia on humanity.
Homophobia can be defined in many ways. ?[It] is generally defined as hostility towards or fear of gay people, but can also refer to social ideologies which stigmatize homosexuality.? There are two different levels of homophobia: internal and external. Internal has to do with prejudices that people include in their beliefs as they grow in places biased against gays and lesbians. External has to do with the expression of the biases. There are many things that influence homophobia. ?There are many factors that can cause a person to be homophobic. Research has shown that prejudice against gay people and homosexuality can be influenced by the person: Having strong religious beliefs that disapprove of sex and/or homosexuality, having little to no social contact with lesbian and gay people, Reporting no homosexual experiences or feelings.? There are many religions that discourage homosexual relations and foster homophobia. ?When you?re scared, especially of something you actually know nothing about, hatred is a natural reaction.? Homophobia comes a lot from not knowing or understanding much about homosexuality. ?In a 2010 public opinion poll, 43 percent of Americans who participated believed that gay and lesbian relationships are morally wrong.? The ?traditional family? is made up of a man and a woman with the ability to reproduce. Many things influence homophobia including beliefs, lack of knowledge, or just plain fear.
In addition, homophobia impacts society in many ways, but in general it hurts people. For instance, ?every year gay and lesbian people as well as people who are simply perceived to be gay or lesbian are teased, harassed, raped, beaten, or killed? (Bullough). Bisexuals, transgendered, and straight allies are also subject to this kind of treatment. Also, ?a few studies? have revealed slightly higher lifetime rates of depression, attempted suicide, psychological help seeking, and substance abuse?? (Cabaj, Nemrow, O?Hanlan, Robertson, Schatz). This physical harm is also causing psychological harm. However ?people suffering from homophobia also limit their scope of association and may have dangerously rigid gender role expectations of themselves and others.? People suffering from that don?t see any other views but their own. While physical harm caused by anti-gay violence is immediately obvious, psychological and emotional injury can also occur. These include post-traumatic stress and chronic pain syndromes, phobias, eating disorders, and most commonly, depression.? There?s a lot that comes with homophobia that many do not stop to think or realize. Homophobia hurts people whether they are homosexual or heterosexual.
In addition, ?Homophobia?, the term, was found in 1967. ?The term homophobia was coined by George Weinberg, a psychotherapist, and self-identified heterosexual? (Bullough). ?The initial classification of homosexuality [is] a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual?? which defies the statement that being homosexual is a choice. Those feelings are there. It is in the brain. It?s not a choice to be a homosexual, however, it is a choice whether to act upon those feelings or not. ?Children, sometimes as young as two to eight years old? experience homosexual feelings? (Cabaj, Nemrow, O?Hanlan, Robertson, Schatz). It doesn?t matter how old you are; homosexual feelings can occur any point in life.
A possible solution would be getting families to accept their homosexual family members. ?It is hypothesized that positive parental communication and support?will moderate the association between experiencing homophobic teasing and psychological outcomes for students who are sexually questioning and [lesbian, gay, and bisexual] students? (Koenig 205). ?Parents who accept and advocate for their non-heterosexual teens may be protecting them from depression and ill health as adults, suggests a new study on families with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) children? (Jeanna Bryner). ?For the first time, researchers have established a clear link between accepting family attitudes and behaviors towards their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) children and significantly decreased risk and better overall health in adulthood.?A recommended solution would be to educate and create awareness. ?Educating your peers about issues of sexual orientation and homophobia can be one of the most effective ways to make your school safer for LGBTQ, [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning], students?? (Peer Education Workshops). President of the Elementary Teacher?s Federation of Ontario, Sam Hammond states, ?Education is the key to raising awareness and dispelling myths about homophobia and the discrimination that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) students and teachers must deal with on a daily basis.? Hammond also states that ?no child is born homophobic. Embracing diversity and respect for others is learned behaviour and educators can take the lead by modeling these positive behaviours in the classroom and the school community? (Education the Key to Stopping Homophobia: ETFO). Part of the possible solution would be to actually create or develop classes or programs that provide education and create awareness. Examples could be a club, an actual class, or an outreach program. ?Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) are student clubs that work to improve school climate for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.”