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Author Topic: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?  (Read 26867 times)

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Offline Zelric MirasTopic starter

Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« on: June 28, 2011, 08:20:39 PM »
I open this thread due to an argument I had with my girlfriend. She stated that since my mom is against homosexuality she is homophobic, even if she has no actual aversion/despise towards homosexuals and homosexuality, she just thinks it is not correct due to her beliefs.

I said that she isn't homophobic and she told me to check the definition. I won't tell my girlfriend that I checked the definition, which I knew already, to avoid a conflict. Still the definition gave some base to my arguments so I'll copy a few of them here.

Definitions
Wikipedia has a more extensive definition that I chose not to copy, you can check it here , though.
Merriam Webster
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homophobia?show=0&t=1309307590
Definition of HOMOPHOBIA
: irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals
Merriam Webster's Word Central Student Dictionary
http://www.wordcentral.com/cgi-bin/student?book=Student&va=homophobia
: irrational fear or dislike of or prejudice against homosexuality or homosexuals
The Free Dictionary
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/homophobia
ho·mo·pho·bi·a  (hm-fb-)
n.
1. Fear of or contempt for lesbians and gay men.
2. Behavior based on such a feeling.
Oxford Dictionaries
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/homophobia?region=us
homophobia(ho·mo·pho·bi·a)
an extreme and irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexual people.


My question is: Being against homosexuality is/should be considered homophobia or not? You know my point of view, I'd like to know yours and your arguments. This is not a discussion about how right or wrong are homophobia and homosexuality, (I'm against the first and I have no issues with the second) I just want to discuss to what extent being against homosexuality is or isn't homophobic.

Offline Shjade

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2011, 10:29:40 PM »
The trouble with those definitions as it applies to your question is the word "irrational." It leaves things pretty wide open to interpretation.

For instance, you noted your mother's negative stance on homosexuality is derived from her beliefs. What are her beliefs based upon? Are those foundations rational? If they're religious beliefs, I bet there's an argument to be made that they aren't.

When it comes to discussing what's rational and what isn't, things can get kinda sticky. :|

That aside, no, I wouldn't say that dislike/disapproval of homosexuality is synonymous with homophobia any more than disliking cake means I feel contempt toward or fear of pastries. It just means I don't want any 'cause I don't like it. However, if I were to extend that dislike to the point of refusing to let other people have cake as well? That suggests there's something more to it than just my not wanting to eat cake.

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Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2011, 11:37:26 PM »
Being against homosexuals doesn't automatically make people homophobic. Just because someone is like "Hey. that's not cool, that's nothing for me." doesn't make them homophobic. In the end, it all boils down to tolerance. You do not have to like something, to be tolerant.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2011, 01:01:25 AM »
People in the media sometimes make the reverse kind of leap, they'll argue (completely openly or a bit below the surface) that "If you're denying what I say, or if you say my arguments (or my LGBT buddy's arguments) or my choice of loaded words don't hold water or could be used, in another context, for dubious ends, then you are really homophobic, that's what drives your arguments - why else would you be doing this petty arguing with me/with us?" The arguments that are under fire don't even have to be about LGBT issues as such, all it takes is that one or more of the people delivering the argument is LGBT or wants very badly to come across as pro-LGBT.

That's a gratifying way to bring your case today because argument and presentation of points of view in the media have become so personalized: it's often more important to cut an attractive figure than to present a valid argument, the message is heavily identified with the one who offers a face for it, and of course no one wants to make people think one might be a homophobe (or a misogynist).

It's also a way to make quick black headlines. You don't really have to show that your argument is sound anymore, all you have to do if you have a columnist position, a standing outlet for writing reviews or op-ed pieces or a decently read blog is to  show up how some figure your target audience won't like had trouble with what you said last week and start yelling this person's a homophobe. Or saying "we didn't get this story, or this show, or this take on things, widely noticed which proves the media or the general culture hates gay people". I have real issues with this kind of debating, because I think arguments in the public realm should be based on general principles that can apply to all of us, can be carried by all, and lines of argument that can be shown, tried and tested by anyone who so wishes essentially without bothering if they be straight or gay, male or female, native or immigrant, as long as they are honest. I want that kind of general validity aimed at in public argument, at least as a standard - certainly if it's ultimately about bringing in new legislation, or about how public authorities or public education should be working; that kind of thing shouldn't just be motivated by wanting to please this or that "identity group". But these days identity wooing seems to be the preferred way to drive support to your cause, or to get your stuff read.

Obviously one principle I regard as self-evident is that no one should be discriminated against for their gender or sexual orientation. But to me that doesn't have the corollary that gays are always morally superior or have outstanding valid demands on everything just because of their sexual orientation - that's part of the kind of argument pushing I'm thinking of. For instance, if a guy writes (this is one I saw in a paper here) that "doctors hate gays" because these docs have imposed a longer time of quarantine for blood donorship on self-avowed gays and lesbians who have been sexually active at a given time and want to give blood, that argument is bollocks to me,. the real reason for that kind of quarantine is to minimize the risk to those who would receive the blood from getting infected with STDs, especially HIV. And like it or not, the rates of some STDs, and certainly HIV, are much higher among gays and lesbians, outside of Africa, than among heteros, if other risk factors (substance abuse etc) don't enter the equation. So security overrides any need to take an "extra fair" stance to homosexual blood donors here. The argument "if your kid were in a car crash and they had to get fresh blood really fast, would you want to indulge your homophobia or would you want to see your child live?" isn't valid either. Once the blood has been donated it is not labeled as to what actual person gave it, everyone knows that. But to some people, the point that terms of security in use of the blood must come first seems to count as homophobic, because it hurts somebody's feelings, or somebody's need to feel on top.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 03:19:31 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Jude

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2011, 02:49:09 AM »
I think the question the OP was trying to ask is that, is disagreeing with homosexuality on moral grounds homophobic?  I can't say how the LGBT community actually feels about this, but I from what I've observed the answer is "yes."  The community as a whole seems convinced that you can't really be in opposition to homosexuals without being a homophobe.  I personally disagree.

Having a phobia isn't a matter of being irrationally afraid of or against something.  A phobia is a completely unreasonable, psychological condition that doesn't have a basis that is at all explicable.  A phobia is an intense, serious fear of something -- even the most staunch opponents to gay marriage have reasons (they're just not very good ones, but that's more of a problem of improper logic, not a mental illness).

That isn't to say everyone who is anti-homosexual is not a homophobe, I'm sure some are, but I think the term is way too broadly applied and does a disservice to both the LGBT community and people who are opposed to them.  The LGBT community suffers because it gives those they brand an excuse (a phobia is a mental illness, if people are truly suffering from homophobia they're harder to hold accountable for their beliefs) while painting those who oppose them as mentally handicapped.  If you're opposed to egalitarianism when it comes to homosexuals, we shouldn't label you as insane -- that's not a constructive basis for us to work from to convince you to change your point of view and it's also really insulting to you.

Being wrong isn't a terrible thing, there are countless things we have all been wrong on before, closing your mind to the truth is the problem.  Those who are "fighting the good fight" shouldn't be helping the close-minded put a padlock on the door by saying that there is no door -- they're just hallucinating it.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2011, 09:20:55 AM »
If someone rants about how the gays are taking over and they're afraid everyone is trying to turn them gay against their will, that is homophobia.

Being against gays is not homophobia, although if someone is actually agitating against gay rights it makes me wonder why someone cares so much about a sexuality that is not theirs that they would actively work to deny gays civil rights.

It's kind of like how finding spiders relatively unpleasant is not actually arachnophobia, and needing to have all your socks in one drawer isn't actually OCD. I can't speak for other countries, but Americans tend to toss around psychiatric/medical terms ("I'm a total hypochondriac when I'm pregnant!") without really thinking them through. Unfortunately, it tends to marginalize people who are actually laboring under/suffering from the condition itself.

There are actual indexes to measure homophobia, clinically, and they look for criteria like how often you think of gays, what kinds of feelings they elicit in you, and so on. Simply disliking - or even hating - gays doesn't make you a homophobe. It does, however, make you a bigot. :)

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2011, 09:39:12 AM »
Being LGBT myself (trans) I don't have any general trouble with gay or lesbian orientations. And you can take my word for it that I have a decent number of friends in the tribe and that I'm not engaging in discrimination. But the situation I'm describing is the kind that can happen if certain sets of issues and "thought positions" become near monopolized and imposed by gay/lesbian pundits. Something that probably happens more easily in a small country like Sweden than in the US as a whole; it's a smaller bathtub and it's easier to gain control of a set of issues through editorial boards, career back-scratching, sloganizing and personal contacts and acquaintances. And to impose the feeling that "you gotta honour these ideas, these talking points if you want to make a career in this kind of media".
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 09:44:02 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Trieste

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Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2011, 09:44:31 AM »
I think probably you're speaking to a situation that a lot of Americans are familiar with. For instance, if you want to run as a Republican due to fiscal reasons, you had better be against abortion and you had better support gun rights. If you are not on the party line with these things, you might as well just cover yourself in mud and go jump in a lake somewhere.

It sounds like LGBT folks have done the same in Sweden.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2011, 09:53:28 AM »
Yes, although it's less connected to actual political parties, the media climate around these issues has become very polarized, even sloganized and it spills over into education and politics. That's self-defeating in the long run I think, because it feeds a backlash - and it drains the will to carry on cohesive and honest debate in the public realm. When people start arguing, for example, that school policies or issues of tolerance concerning religions and ideas should be based on gender/sexuality revanchist principles, to make up for past injustices, that's guaranteed to inspire venom and it's not solid if you want laws, things, education, politics to be a bit evenhanded.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 09:55:33 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2011, 10:52:33 AM »
Wouldn't it depend I have relatives that are fine with me being a lesbian but think we don't need to marry or adopt children but otherwise are entitled to be free of persecution and should be allowed to live our lives. Most agree civil unions would suffice over marriage.

I would say they have an opinion over being homophobic since its a controversial issue in the United States.

Offline Shjade

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2011, 12:05:19 PM »
While I more or less agree with your point...
Having a phobia isn't a matter of being irrationally afraid of or against something.  A phobia is a completely unreasonable, psychological condition that doesn't have a basis that is at all explicable.
...it sounds like you just said, "A phobia isn't an irrational fear, it's a fear that's irrational." >.>

Offline grdell

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2011, 03:35:28 PM »
My opinion? I don't hate your mother. And I am a gay man.

If someone is against my lifestyle (I will not use the term "lifestyle choice") on religious grounds, that's fine. I'm actually against a lot of lifestyle restrictions placed on people by their respective religions. Do I consider myself to be against those religions? No. Will I try to stop them from doing what they like? Well, providing it's not hurting anybody else, of course not. You can be for or against anything. It's your opinion and your prerogative.

If all she is doing is saying that she does not agree with how I'm living my life, I'm fine with that. When I stop being fine with it is when someone starts trying to take away my rights or becomes violent or abusive towards me. That's the manifestation of homophobia.

So I don't think that just because someone says that they disagree with homosexuality automatically makes them homophobic. I have a paradoxically great respect for the beliefs of others. You can believe whatever you want. Just don't try to change or hurt me, and I'm content to leave well enough alone.

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Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2011, 03:46:50 PM »
I think my mother used to be homophobic.  (She definitely was, she just may have gotten over it.)  When I was just out of college, I was hanging out with a guy, and let it slip that we 'had one too many interests in common'.  Namely, we both liked guys.  She told me I should 'stop associating with him.'  I told her 'you can't catch it from a doorknob,' and hung out with him anyways.  (Not sure what she interpreted 'it' as.)  Later on, when I was invited hiking with two gay male friends (who weren't a couple), she said she felt 'uncomfortable' with me being out in the middle of nowhere with two gay men.  I asked her if she'd rather I was out in the middle of nowhere with two straight men, and went hiking anyways.

Mere disapproval doesn't rise to the definition, though.  People disapprove of pre-marital sex, and that isn't classed as 'phobic'.  People disapprove of eating meat, and that's not classed as 'phobic'.  Phobic would be 'Oh my god, I can't walk down the street at Dupont Circle!  A gay person might look at me!'

Offline alxnjsh

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2011, 04:43:16 PM »
One can't always utilize the dictionary to determine the meaning of words used in slang or regional vernacular. Words are constantly evolving and utilizing the dictionary as the sole source for the argument might be putting yourself on thin ice ;)

Homophobia and transphobia have taken on definitions akin to racism. There is no "ist" for the LGBT community like there is classist, racist, sexist, etc. What would you call someone that doesn't feel people should be practicing Judaism? Anti-Semitic. Not Jewphobic or Jewist. What would you call someone that doesn't believe homosexuality is acceptable? Homophobic? Gay hater? Prejudiced?

The issue comes into play when someone believes that LGBT is a lifestyle choice (which is now a minority belief in the United States). I wouldn't choose to be hated by people who are seemingly nice. I wouldn't choose to not have the same rights to a relationship with the person I love and have been with over 15 years.

The questions that are often posed to somewhat snickering results are:

Question: Do you think being gay is a choice?
Answer: Yes
Question: When did you choose to be straight?
Answer: ...

For my personal use I believe anyone that is against homosexuality is homophobic. I don't hate your mother, but I would find it difficult to befriend anyone that is against my core being of who I am.

Offline DudelRok

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2011, 06:38:59 PM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homophobia
Quote
Homophobia is observable in critical and hostile behavior such as discrimination and violence on the basis of a perceived homosexual or in some cases any non-heterosexual orientation.

That would be my perception of the word.

So I'd say the OP's mother isn't homophobic, but she's not cool either.

I live with a homophobic. Gay men can not look at, touch even in friendly gestures (hand shakes) or talk with him; it's a giant no. A true test if someone is homophobic, I found, is to call them a slur they would normally use themselves for the group. If they react with anger or discomfort, you got yourself someone with an irrational fear.

Offline Maiz

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2011, 03:51:08 AM »
One can't always utilize the dictionary to determine the meaning of words used in slang or regional vernacular. Words are constantly evolving and utilizing the dictionary as the sole source for the argument might be putting yourself on thin ice ;)

Homophobia and transphobia have taken on definitions akin to racism. There is no "ist" for the LGBT community like there is classist, racist, sexist, etc. What would you call someone that doesn't feel people should be practicing Judaism? Anti-Semitic. Not Jewphobic or Jewist. What would you call someone that doesn't believe homosexuality is acceptable? Homophobic? Gay hater? Prejudiced?

There's heterosexism and cissexism. I use it and I see it being used more often. I like those terms better because then there isn't the whole -phobia aspect. If you are against gay or lesbian people then you are hetereosexist. You may not be a 'homophobe' as in you have a phobia of them, but you are still prejudiced against them.

Although I do think that saying 'oh I'm not homophobic, i don't have a phobia of gays' is really like. dense. Because it's common usage that homophobia is meant to be 'prejudice against people who like their own sex'. It's really obtuse to say otherwise. Also dictionary entries do not equal real meanings.

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Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2011, 09:37:05 AM »
There's heterosexism and cissexism. I use it and I see it being used more often. I like those terms better because then there isn't the whole -phobia aspect. If you are against gay or lesbian people then you are hetereosexist. You may not be a 'homophobe' as in you have a phobia of them, but you are still prejudiced against them.

The linguist in me likes these terms as well.  They feel more accurate than the -phobic terms.

Offline alxnjsh

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2011, 09:48:19 AM »
The linguist in me likes these terms as well.  They feel more accurate than the -phobic terms.

I agree...though I would like cisgenderism even more I think ;)

Offline Syauglan

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2011, 12:32:16 AM »
Its interesting that values can differ a great deal from habitual conditioning. I've known plenty of heterosexuals who regard homosexuality as a natural and perfectly acceptable sexual orientation but will still react with irrational anxiety if they think someone of their own sex finds them attractive. Hell, that was me when I was sixteen. I've been there. However, from personal experience I also think that social & cultural conditioning will yield to strongly held personal values over time.

In theory I can see that its possible to think homosexuality is wrong in principle while harboring no ill-will towards homosexuals or fear of them. Give it time though. Human nature being what it is if someone believes that homosexuality is somehow wrong they will develop negative feelings towards homosexuals. I've seen it happen to someone I was very close to and it was heartbreaking. Just give it time.  :-(

Offline DudelRok

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2011, 11:59:23 PM »
Here is one for ya!

I feel that homosexuality is biologically incorrect (and until humans can naturally reproduce asexually...) however see nothing wrong with it psychologically or sociologically. Am I against homosexuality? No.. I mean, heck if I care what you do on your lawn (just keep it off my lawn). Do I see it as incorrect in some manner? Obviously. Does that fit into some kind of "ism" I am unaware of? The argument against this one is usually "test tube babies" but you still need sperm+egg.. and I'm not a fan of going around biology as that leads to things like... Jurassic Park. (That's is an extremist joke, but I do hope my point is clear.) Though adoption is a valid take... a natural result in an environment to the increase in unwanted children having proper homes etc. So it's still a bit of a gray line, depending on how you look at and present it... but there is that as an attempted example. (I had an argument then dismantled it, myself. :p )

As for being awkward when a guy hits on me... well when a woman I don't want solicitation from hits on me, I'm just as awkward and uncomfortable so..... yeah. "I don't want your advances, this is not okay." It has only the limited issue of the one hitting on me being male in that I'm not attracted to men.

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Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2011, 04:08:37 AM »
I think that there is a difference between a logical definition and an umbrella term.  Language is built as much on how words are used as they are on how they are defined, and often we allow ourselves to make general even flippant comments, especially when with someone we really trust.

The word "gay" itself for example:  I honestly couldn't tell you off the top of my head what all of it's official modern meanings are.  Obviously "happy" should still be listed as one of them.  But I've heard it used to exclusively define men who are attracted to men, it's been used as an umbrella term for anything out of the "male with female" idea, and then there are far more flippant (often considered derogatory or intolerant) ways the word is used.

All in all I feel that while her definition might not be valid, her cultural understanding of the word might not be that flawed.  Most people simply see homophobic as being against homosexuality, and that can be very broadly defined.

Offline vtboy

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2011, 05:39:53 AM »
I'm not sure how one can rationally be "against" homosexuality or, for that matter, any consensual, adult activity which does not inflict harm on third parties (I realize that the notion of "harm" to third parties is a bit ambiguous, but that is a discussion for another day). It's one thing to eschew personal participation; it's quite another to condemn (or, worse, punish) the behavior in others. As to the latter, I can only assume that those who judge homosexuality immoral or harbor hostility to homosexuals are impelled to do so either by psychological compulsion or religious indoctrination, both of which are antithetical to the exercise reason. And, since unreasoned attitudes are by definition irrational, yes, I would ascribe the label "homophobic", not only to those who are enraged or frightened by homosexuality, but to anyone who condemns it as morally wrong.


Offline Bayushi

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2011, 05:26:02 AM »
I am in agreement with vtboy.

What two men do on their own time in private is their own business. If it does not adversely affect me, or anyone else, then it should not be a problem. (Libertarian viewpoint)

However, there are going to be examples of unacceptable behavior from homosexuals in the public eye (which is often very subjective. A lot of people, myself included, can not stand to be around flamboyant gay men. However, I recognize that there is nothing illegal about flaming) if not outright illegal(many Pride parades involve lewd activities that would involve indecency charges for anyone else, which is why I choose to not attend them, even being lesbian myself. I frankly do not desire to see these things).

The only other issue I have is that so many homosexuals and lesbians choose to separate themselves from the rest of society, yet claim to want to become accepted in society. I'm not sure they realize that societies have things like conduct expectations and expectations of public decency.

I'm anything but an authoritarian, but sometimes the intentional rebellion against public decency is overboard (as mentioned above, Pride parades can be excessively lewd) and should not be accepted, whether gay/lesbian or straight.

Offline elone

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2011, 12:23:48 AM »
It's one thing to eschew personal participation; it's quite another to condemn (or, worse, punish) the behavior in others. As to the latter, I can only assume that those who judge homosexuality immoral or harbor hostility to homosexuals are impelled to do so either by psychological compulsion or religious indoctrination, both of which are antithetical to the exercise reason. And, since unreasoned attitudes are by definition irrational, yes, I would ascribe the label "homophobic", not only to those who are enraged or frightened by homosexuality, but to anyone who condemns it as morally wrong.

I don't see the homophobic term as being appropriate for those who believe homosexuality is morally wrong. That is more an issue of their personal beliefs and moral values. For instance, if I believe that taking a life is morally wrong, that doesn't make me phobic of killing, it just means I don't believe it to be appropriate behavior. People are entitled to their personal beliefs. This is quite a bit different than fear, which I believe is the definition of phobia. I don't believe that rationality comes into this at all as far as morals are concerned, whether through religious indoctrination or otherwise. It is only when the try to impose their beliefs on others that there is a problem.


However, there are going to be examples of unacceptable behavior from homosexuals in the public eye (which is often very subjective. A lot of people, myself included, can not stand to be around flamboyant gay men. However, I recognize that there is nothing illegal about flaming) if not outright illegal(many Pride parades involve lewd activities that would involve indecency charges for anyone else, which is why I choose to not attend them, even being lesbian myself. I frankly do not desire to see these things).

The only other issue I have is that so many homosexuals and lesbians choose to separate themselves from the rest of society, yet claim to want to become accepted in society. I'm not sure they realize that societies have things like conduct expectations and expectations of public decency.

I'm anything but an authoritarian, but sometimes the intentional rebellion against public decency is overboard (as mentioned above, Pride parades can be excessively lewd) and should not be accepted, whether gay/lesbian or straight.

There is a lot of unacceptable public behavior from heterosexuals as well, I don't think it is reserved for a particular community. I think women baring their breasts would be considered lewd activity in most jurisdictions, but in Mardi Gras it seems to be acceptable. I think the circumstances dictate the seriousness of the offense.

As for gays and lesbians choosing to be separate from the rest of society, I would tend to think that that would be a natural response to the prejudice, bigotry, and hatred they have in the past been accustomed to. Given a choice, I am sure everyone would prefer to be accepted.

I think is unfortunate that any group is singled out for the actions of a few, no matter who the group is.

Offline Missy

Re: Being against homosexuality is homophobic?
« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2011, 02:58:36 AM »
There is a lot of unacceptable public behavior from heterosexuals as well, I don't think it is reserved for a particular community. I think women baring their breasts would be considered lewd activity in most jurisdictions, but in Mardi Gras it seems to be acceptable. I think the circumstances dictate the seriousness of the offense.

Police offer flashing a single warning at Mardi Gras. Repeat offenders get a night at the town house.

Just a random fact I knew.

I personally don't think it's any more acceptable than any other kind of lewdness, irregardless of the circumstance.