Homophobia the fear or dislike of someone, based on prejudice or negative attitudes, beliefs, or views about lesbian, gay or bi people. This can also include denying somebody’s lesbian, gay, or bi identity or refusing to accept it. Homophobia may be targeted at people who are, or who are perceived to be, lesbian, gay or bi. 
What might homophobia look like?  
  • ‘Joking’ that something (an action, an item, a person) perceived to be negative in some way is ‘gay’ (e.g., ‘that’s so gay’).  
  • Someone complementing another person of the same gender and then assuring them that ‘don’t worry, I’m not gay,’ implying that that would be negative/bad.  
  • Assuming that someone is in a heterosexual relationship (e.g., asking a woman ‘so do you have a boyfriend/husband?’) is an example of a heteronormative stereotype.  
  • ‘Oh, you don’t look like you’re gay/a lesbian/bi/queer’ – this is based on damaging stereotypes about LGBT+ people, and wrongly implies you can ‘tell’ someone’s sexual orientation by their appearance.   
  • Suggesting LGBT+ people are sexually ‘deviant’ or dangerous based on or because of their sexual orientation or gender identity 
  • ‘You’re just greedy’ – this is a damaging stereotype.   
  • ‘You need to just make up your mind’ - this denies and undermines bisexuality as a valid sexual orientation. 
  • ‘It’s just a phase’ – saying this dismisses and undermines someone’s experiences and/or feelings about their own sexuality and identity, which can be upsetting. Some people do feel that sexuality and gender is fluid, but this does not make it ok to dismiss someone else’s sexual orientation as a ‘phase.’ 
  • ‘You’re just ashamed/scared/embarrassed to say you’re gay or lesbian.’ 
Learn more on Young Scot to find out the meaning of homophobia and where to get support if you experience it.

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