Difference Between Homophobia and Heterosexism

Key Difference – Homophobia vs Heterosexism
 

Homophobia and heterosexism are two terms between which a key difference can be identified. Homophobia is the hatred and fear of homosexuality and homosexuals. Heterosexism is the idea that heterosexuals are superior to others. Hence, they have a right to dominate. The key difference between homophobia and heterosexism is that while homophobia refers to attitudes and behavioral patterns that people have against homosexuals, heterosexism is ideologies that stigmatize and oppress homosexuals. Through this article let us examine the differences between these two terms.

What is Homophobia?

Homophobia is the hatred and fear of homosexuality and homosexuals. The term homophobia was coined by the psychologist George Weinberg. Weinberg highlights that homophobia is a condition in which heterosexuals fear being in proximity to homosexuals and loath such behavior. This can be problematic for all individuals because it creates a fear in the individual to form close bonds with those of the same sex.

Homophobia can lead to discrimination of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities. It can even go as further as violence as well. This includes both physical and verbal harassment of those who are homosexuals. There are many forms of homophobia such as internalized homophobia, institutionalized homophobia, cultural homophobia, etc. Let us take an example. According to institutionalized homophobia, various social institutions such as religion instill homophobia in people. This can be seen in the religious practices of Islam in which homosexuality is forbidden and is considered as a crime. This is why in most Muslim countries death penalty is carried out for homosexuality.

Difference Between Homophobia and Heterosexism

What is Heterosexism?

Heterosexism is the idea that heterosexuals are superior to others. Hence, they have a right to dominate. This ideology not only emphasizes the superiority of heterosexuals but also encapsulated the stigmatization of homosexual behavior, relationships, and even communities. Heterosexism is an ideology that is deeply rooted into the very roots of the social labyrinth. This leads to an atmosphere where heterosexuality functions as the dominant form, making homosexuality invisible and also rejected by the majority of the society.

The spread of heterosexuality is such that it often amounts to the attacks on homosexuals. This is not limited to individual attacks, but can go further to include institutional policies as well. Although homosexuality is tolerated in some communities, most do not tolerate such behavior. For example, most organizations have antigay policies. Even in the day to day life, homosexuals are discriminated and stigmatized by the larger society.

Key Difference - Homophobia vs Heterosexism

What is the difference between Homophobia and Heterosexism?

Definitions of Homophobia and Heterosexism:

Homophobia: Homophobia is the hatred and fear of homosexuality and homosexuals.

Heterosexism: Heterosexism is the idea that heterosexuals are superior to others hence they have a right to dominate.

Characteristics of Homophobia and Heterosexism:

Aspects:

Homophobia:  Homophobia includes attitudes and behavioral patterns that people have against homosexuals.

Heterosexism: Heterosexism includes ideologies on the macro level of the society.

Forms of Oppression:

Homophobia: This includes labeling, stigmatization, prejudice and discrimination of people.

Heterosexism: Heterosexism goes beyond individual forms of oppression to state level policies such as bans, and antigay policies.

Key Terms:

Homophobia: Fear and hatred are the key terms.

Heterosexism: Dominance in the key term.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. Celebrating same-sex marriage at the Lexington Pride Festival 2015 By FloNight (Sydney Poore) – Own work,[CC BY-SA 4.0] via Commons

2. Homophobia-Discrimination-NoDiversity-03 By Kurt Löwenstein Educational Center International Team from Germany (qe07 (3)) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons