Homophobia/Biphobia: An illogical fear of homosexuals and bisexuals.
Hetrosexism: View that the world is heterosexual and thus all customs and behaviors conform to this.
Homophobia/Biphobia: An attitude. An attitude is defined as a disposition to respond favorably or unfavorably to the self, others, and environment. Therefore, homophobia/biphobia is an unfavorable disposition towards people who are Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual.
Heterosexism: A belief. A belief is defined as an assumption about self, others, and environment that an individual possesses and to which the individual attributes importance. Therefore, heterosexism is defined as a belief in the inherent superiority of demonstrating intimacy only towards members of opposite sex and therefore a belief in the right to dominate and set societal standards and norms.
The Relationship Between a Belief and an Attitude
Heterosexism is a belief that someone may have of the world. The presence of people who are Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual challenges the validity of this belief. Rather than change the belief, a reactive attitude (homophobia/biphobia) is formed to reinforce the belief. People who are Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual and are out is a further challenge and violence (physical, verbal, political, social, religious) becomes the final reactive action in attempts to maintain the belief.
At anytime in the cycle, the belief and/or attitude can change.
This information is posted with the permission of its author: Barry A. Schreier, Ph.D.