Homophobic, but not prejudice

@_sketch_ (5711)
United States
July 21, 2011 6:07pm CST
A friend of mine told me that he feels uncomfortable around gays because of negative experiences he has had in the past. He told me that he has no problem with gays and that some are the nicest people you have ever met. He says that despite this, he can't help but feel uncomfortable around them. He says he's a homophobe. What are your thoughts on this? If you are gay yourself or you are close to someone who is gay, are you offended by this?
1 person likes this
8 responses
• United States
14 Aug 11
I personally am not gay but I know many gay people I do find what you friend said to be offensive how can you claim to be ok with something but then be uncomfortable around it if it makes you uncomfortable then clearly you are NOT ok with it
@_sketch_ (5711)
• United States
14 Aug 11
I'm just going to refer back to the example used in a comment above. Say that there is a girl who was sexually assaulted by a man when she was young. Now she is an adult and she gets nervous whenever she is alone with a man or if he stands too closely, etc. Is this girl prejudice, or pre-judging men? No, she knows that not all men are like that. She knows that not every man wants to hurt her. No, she has a fear, or phobia of men. She knows it's not logical. That is what a phobia is. It's not that she has anything against men. She doesn't want all men to drop off the planet or anything. She is okay with men. She is just not able to be comfortable around them.
• United States
14 Aug 11
was your friend sexually assaulted by a gay person?
@paula27661 (15900)
• Australia
24 Jul 11
I am not so sure if your friend is homophobic or not but it sounds like he’s had some kind of bad experience with one or more gay people. I don’t feel any different around gay folks as I do others and therefore have no issues there. I think that if your friend does not like his attitude towards gay individuals he should deal with his problems because it appears to me that they are within him and if was a gay person I don’t think I would be offended I would instead wish he would get some help.
@_sketch_ (5711)
• United States
24 Jul 11
He said that he has had bad experiences with more than one gay person. And yes, it seems to me like he is just trying to work it out himself rather than seeking any kind of official help on the issue.
1 person likes this
@speakeasy (4215)
• United States
22 Jul 11
Not knowing what his "negative experiences" were, we really should not judge him. What he has is a phobia - an irrational fear. A person who is bitten by a dog when young can develop a phobia for a specific breed of dog, size dog, color dog, or all dogs. Like any other phobia, he should seek counseling to help him get past this irrational fear. If he does not seek counseling, his phobia could become worse and he could find himself missing out on various functions, activities, and new friends simply trying to avoid situations where he would feel "uncomfortable".
@_sketch_ (5711)
• United States
22 Jul 11
I agree that people should not judge him. He hasn't even given me the specifics of his experiences. To call him prejudice seems kind of ironic and hypocritcal to me, for if we judge him without knowing the story, then we are prejudice, or prejudging, of him. I doubt he will seek counseling and it doesn't seem to be all that serious of a phobia, but you are right in that it could become worse, however, he told me that he is homophobic and so he does know that this feeling is irrational. He didn't say something negative about gays, which is something someone who wasn't aware of, or was denying their phobia would say. Some people just don't like counseling and with some individuals it is more effective to just try to work it out in their own head themselves. He told me about it and talking about our problems with anyone is what counseling essentially is. I told him that he can't help how he feels and it is okay to feel that way. He shouldn't feel bad about it. I told him that as he said, he doesn't have anything against gays and that is where the problems lie.
• Canada
22 Jul 11
I think it's nuts!!! Just because someone had a bad experience with a couple of gay people doesn't mean they are all that way. That's like saying all Muslims are terrorists. That's not true either, and I have plenty of proof of that. One can not paint an entire group with one brush.
@_sketch_ (5711)
• United States
22 Jul 11
All which way? He never claimed that all gays were the same in any way. He just said that he feels uncomfortable around them. The example of all Muslims being terrorists would mean that the person is making a negative judgement towards a group of people, assuming that they are all murderers. What judgement has my friend really made towards gays? He did not say that he thinks anything about them; he said he feels something when he's around them. So is it really the same? Look at the response above yours. The example of a girl who was abused by men and feels uncomfortable around them. Do you believe that she is also "painting an entire group with one brush?"
• United States
22 Jul 11
You mentioned he had negative experiences with them. That is the case here. This is no way can be taken as prejudice as you said. A girl who was abused by a man in the past can feel uncomfortable around men later in life. But this does not make her sexist. It is just a deep fear. I have seen people hating a certain astrological sign because they had bad experiences with someone from it. It is just natural for people to feel uncomfortable with a group they had a bad history with. I would not be offended about such cases.
@_sketch_ (5711)
• United States
22 Jul 11
Yes, good point. The very definition of prejudice suggests that an opinion was made without any information. He is taking the information from his past and he said that he has no negative opinion of them whatsoever. Good example with the abused girl. Her feeling uncomfortable doesn't mean that he has a bad opinion of men.
@lilybug (21182)
• United States
22 Jul 11
To me it would be considered prejudice. How is it any different than saying I don't like being around _______(pick a race) people because ONE of them made me feel uncomfortable before.
@_sketch_ (5711)
• United States
22 Jul 11
It's not different than saying that he doesn't like being around a particular race. But is it a problem at all since he has no desire to remove their rights and isn't really making any sort of negative judgement. Can it be prejudice if he has no judgement towards them?
@celticeagle (104019)
• Boise, Idaho
22 Jul 11
I have known gays in the past but never felt uncomfortable around them except when I was out as a gay bar with some of them and wasn't sure how to act. I have not problem with gays as long as they are respectful of me not being gay. I have never had a problem with any of them. If he is a homophobe then perhaps he needs to do some soul searching.
@_sketch_ (5711)
• United States
22 Jul 11
You do not feel uncomfortable around gays, but have you ever had a negative experience with any? Is there a group of people that you have had a bad experience with that now makes you feel uncomfortable? Yes, he probably needs to do something, for any fear is not a good thing to have. But I'd say that's probably easier said than done.
@syoti20 (5297)
• Philippines
21 Jul 11
Being a homophobic for me is already another way of discriminating people. In time, he will realize that gay is friendly.
@_sketch_ (5711)
• United States
22 Jul 11
As I said, he said that gays are some of the nicest people he has ever met. The word 'discriminate' means to make a distinction in favor or against something. So perhaps he has, but he has distinguished between gays and straights, but is it prejudice? Is he really making any sort of judgement here?