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The 4 types of homophobia, and how to recognize them

The 4 types of homophobia, and how to recognize them

March 1, 2021

The existence of different types of homophobia It shows us that this type of discrimination based on sexual orientation is not something easy to isolate and detect according to stereotypical and repetitive behaviors, but it can be adapted to any context, however changing it may be. Times are evolving, and forms of homophobia, too.

However, this does not mean that we can not establish categories to better understand this kind of discrimination and the ways in which it is presented.

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The main types of homophobia

Discrimination is capable of taking many different forms. This is so, among other things, because when you discriminate, you also try to do it in a way that fits well with the mental frames that establish what is politically correct and what is not. It may be possible in a certain social circle to criminalize a group because of its essence , for example, but in others it will be necessary to attribute this criminalization not to what these minorities are, but to what they are supposed to do, for example.


In the case of discrimination against homosexual persons, this translates into the existence of different types of homophobia

Types of homophobia according to their transmission medium

Considering the way in which homophobia is transmitted and perpetuated, we can find the following two categories.

Cultural homophobia

This type of discrimination towards homosexuals is based on unwritten laws that are transmitted from generation to generation through oral transmission and imitation of behaviors . Most expressions of homophobia have to do with this category.

Institutional homophobia

It is about the type of homophobia that has to do with formalized norms and present in the regulations of public and private organizations . For example, in laws that criminalize actions associated with homosexuality, or company bylaws that justify the dismissal of homosexual persons.


Also included in this category are samples of homophobia promoted by certain religious groups, even those that do not have a well-defined organization or do not have sacred texts, although in this case it would be a phenomenon halfway between cultural homophobia and the institutional

According to your degree of expression

The can also be divided according to the degree in which it is expressed or, on the contrary, it remains latent .

Cognitive homophobia

This type of homophobia refers to the beliefs that are part of the cognitive system of individual people and that show homosexuality as something negative, usually related to vague notions of what is "the unnatural" and the "degenerate" . Thus, it is based on stereotypes and associations between concepts linked to homosexuality that are at the same time associated with rejection or even disgust.


For example, the predisposition of some people to reject their children if they come to know that they are homosexual is a sign of cognitive homophobia.

Behavioral homophobia

This concept refers to the objective expressions of homophobia by parts of individuals who they do not hide behind any rule to discriminate against homosexuals because they are .

For example, those who organize demonstrations to take away rights from those who have a sexual orientation other than heterosexuality, who physically assault homosexuals because they are homosexual, who exclude people from believing they are homosexual ... the forms homophobia can adopt behavioral are virtually endless, as varied as human behavior.

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Seemingly well-meaning discrimination

There are variants of behavioral homophobia that do not appear directly under a mental framework of confrontation, but of tolerance. In these cases, homosexuality is "tolerated" (implying that there is something in it that already causes discomfort), as long as it is not expressed in a very visible way.

In any case, in practice, it is assumed that people with a sexual orientation that does not belong to heterosexuality have fewer rights than heterosexuals, or that this lack of rights is justified under the need not to extend it to other members of the population (assuming once again that it is bad, since otherwise it would not be necessary to take measures to prevent it from spreading).


Conclusion: there is much to be questioned

Centuries of homophobia have left a cultural mark deeply rooted in our way of acting and thinking. Therefore, it is important to question whether certain behaviors and beliefs that we believed to be innocuous are not really a basis for homophobia.

Sometimes, discriminatory actions and attitudes go unnoticed because since our childhood we have learned to see them as something normal , and to see any questioning of these as a way out of tone or a ridiculous way of thinking. It is an intellectual neglect that is reflected in suffering and victims, because although we do not have to participate directly in the harassment of homosexuals, we participate in the perpetuation of a cultural framework that legitimizes those actions.



Russia: State of homophobia - #Observers (March 2021).


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