rows Navigate Study Guide Homophobia This article focuses on homophobia, the fear felt by some heterosexuals toward those with alternative sexual orientation. It provides an overview of sexual orientation including gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, and transgendered. It also further defines and discusses homophobia and its origins and goes on to discuss various issues surrounding heterosexism or sexual prejudice such as stigmatization, hate crimes, discrimination in the work place, and AIDS stigma. Keywords Bisexual; Domestic Partner; Gay; Gender; Gender Bias; Gender Identity; Gender Socialization; Hate Crimes; Heterosexism; Heterosexual; Homophobia; Homosexual; Lesbian; Patriarchy; Sex; Sexual Orientation; Sexual Prejudice; Sodomy; Stigma; Straight; Transgenderism Homophobia Overview Sexual Orientation A person's sexual orientation, whether he or she prefers sexual relationships with members of the same sex, or the opposite sex, is considered by some to be determined at birth or learned, and by others as both biological and social. A person can be heterosexual, preferring to have sexual relationships with members of the opposite sex, or homosexual, preferring to have sexual relationships with members of the same sex. Gays are typically males who prefer to have relationships with other males, while lesbians are women who prefer to have relationships with other women. Straights are heterosexuals, while bisexuals will have sexual relationships with both the same and the opposite sex. Transgenderism refers to crossdressers and those who do not conform to culturally prescribed norms about what it means to be male or female. However, having a homosexual or bisexual experience does not necessarily mean that a person is homosexual. For some, particularly young people, homosexual or bisexual experiences are experimental and do not continue. For others, however, homosexuality is a way of life. Researchers have found that gay and bisexual men in particular often believed that they were different from other boys from an early age (SavinWilliams, 2004). What is Homophobia? Homophobia, essentially, is the fear of homosexuality. Gays and lesbians experience incidents of homophobia in terms of attacks including verbal assaults, threats, physical and sexual assault, and cyberbullying. Homophobia includes negative beliefs, attitudes, stereotypes, and behaviors toward gays and heterosexuals' dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals as well as homosexuals' self loathing, homophobia is driven by a rigid gender code (Herek, 2008). Women who break from traditional, culturally defined female roles are often thought of as lesbians, and men who
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