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Homophobia (from ancient Greek homós "equal", and phóbos " fear , phobia ") describes a social aversion (dislike) or aggressiveness (hostility) directed against lesbian and gay people . In the social sciences , homophobia, together with phenomena such as racism , xenophobia or sexism, is subsumed under the term “ group-related misanthropy ” and is therefore not caused by pathological abnormalities . As Lesbophobia an over-tapping with homophobia, sexist behavior towards lesbian women is called a double discrimination of women affected.

Homophobic behavior and other discriminatory acts are in some cases closely related to transphobia (transhumanity), as outsiders often believe that they recognize the alleged homosexuality of a person by deviating from behavior and expression that are considered to be gender- typical .


The term homophobia indicates fear as the cause of negative behavior (see below on causes of homophobia ). Fear is a recognized explanatory model for the aggressive-negative behavior not only of adolescents, but also of adults towards homosexuals, and not fear of these people, but a deep-seated, often unconscious fear of one's own suppressed parts of the personality. However, it is not an anxiety disorder in the clinical-psychological sense.

Homophobia describes, on the one hand, an irrational fear of one's own, not fitting into the self-image and therefore defended against and repressed into the unconscious , and on the other hand the resulting feelings such as disgust, contempt and hatred and, thirdly, the prejudices brought into society by homophobic people, Persecution tendencies and potential for violence. From a depth psychological point of view, homophobia - like sexism , racism or hostility to Jews ( anti-Semitism ) - is a mostly unconscious fear of questioning one's own identity. Homophobic people are often overly concerned with homosexuality and want to fight it.

The various forms of homophobic violence (on the part of society, groups or individuals or others) must be described as disturbed behaviors, which in turn severely impair the development of lesbians and gays and under which secondary psychological disorders can develop.

Differentiation from other terms

The following terms differ from homophobia:

  • Biphobia describes the lack of understanding and aversion to bisexuals from both poles of sexual orientation or identity . Sometimes, however, the adoption by both sides of bisexuals is also perceived as biphobia. Recent studies show that biphobia isassociatedwith additional discriminatory characteristics that cannot be summarized under homophobia. Bisexual people are discriminated against by gay or lesbian sides or are subject to corresponding negative, but also positive prejudices.
  • Transphobia describes the aversion and resulting discrimination of transgender or transsexual people based on their gender identity (which does not match the gender assigned at birth). Because with a gender (role) change a constant sexual orientation changes from the same to the opposite sex (or vice versa), transgender persons are excluded.
  • Misogyny describes the aversion to women in general or certain expressions of femininity  - often those that do not fall under the “current cultural acceptance categories” of the social role of femininity. Misogyny isunderstoodas sexism .
  • Heterophobia describes the aversion to heterosexuals, but this rarely occurs in a pronounced form. Only in extreme queer theories  - rarely also for bisexual and homosexual women and men who are not consciously involved in this theory - is fundamentally everything that corresponds to heteronormativity questioned, and sometimes the other is shown as absolutely superior. Even a lack of understanding and an aversion from bad experience towards people who live firmly in the social norm and who do not understand you can be perceived as heterophobia, but need not correspond to it.

The following overview shows forms of defense against partial areas of sexual identity or sexual orientation :

Ideology , worldview Defense form Aversion , hostility to Form of identity
Heteronormativity Heterosexism : Non- heteronormatives : social norm ( hetero ):
feminism Misandry ( sexism ) Gender role
Masculinism Misogyny ( sexism ) Gender role
Queer theory Heterophobia sexual orientation


Latin / Greek - men

The word "homophobia" was used for a short time in the 1920s in the mixed Latin-Greek composition as "fear of man" (Latin homo. "Man, human"; Greek phóbos "fear"). The sociologist and male researcher Michael Kimmel used it in this composition in 1997 and meant a man's current ultimate fear of other men that they would expose him as not being masculine.

Greek - homosexuals

Most of the time the word is used as a combination of the Greek words homós "equal" and phobia "fear". According to the memories of the American psychotherapist George Weinberg , while preparing a lecture at an event of the East Coast Homophile Organizations (ECHO) in September 1965, he pondered the fact that many heterosexual psychoanalysts, when they meet with homosexuals outside of the clinical setting have strong personal negative reactions, and it occurred to him that this could be described as a phobia.

"I coined the word 'homophobia' to mean that it was a fear of homosexuals ... It was a fear of homosexuals that seemed to be associated with a fear of contamination, a fear of the things one was fighting for - Home and family - devalue. It was a religious fear and it had led to great inhumanity, as fear always does. "

- George Weinberg : in an interview with Gregory M. Herek on October 30, 1998

According to his own statements, he began to use the word around 1966 or 1967, according to Jack Nichols ' statements from 1967.

The word homophobia first appeared in print in Screw magazine, a not particularly sophisticated magazine (“screw” can be translated as “nailing” in the sexual sense) that addressed a predominantly heterosexual, male audience. There activists and friends of Weinberg's, Jack Nichols and Lige Clarke, had a weekly column addressing gay topics. On May 23, 1969, the column was headed He-Man Horse Shit by editor Al Goldstein for describing heterosexual men’s excessive avoidance of things that might be mistaken for idiot. Exaggerated macho behavior is therefore the result of the fear of heterosexual men to be considered homosexual. This fear would limit the male experience by making things like poetry , art , movement, and touch taboo as feminine .

It first appeared in print on October 31, 1969 in a widely distributed publication, Time Magazine . Weinberg himself first used the word on July 18, 1971 in a written publication, an essay entitled Words for the New Culture in Nichols' weekly newspaper Gay . There it was defined as "the fear of being spatially close to homosexuals - and in the case of homosexuals themselves, self-hatred". He also described the consequences of this phobia, which were closely related to the male norms of society, and viewed them as a form of prejudice of one group against another. However, the word only got a lasting anchoring in English usage through Weinberg's book Society and the Healthy Homosexual in 1972. In an interview in 2002 Weinberg defined homophobia as follows:

“Homophobia is just that: a phobia. A morbid and irrational shyness that evokes irrational flight or the urge to destroy the stimulus of the phobia and everything that can be remembered about it. "

- George Weinberg

Other psychologists, such as David Andrew Fogel Haaga, deny that homophobia is a true phobia and emphasize that a true phobia is shaped by fear, homophobia by anger or hatred. Haaga names four distinguishing features between homophobia and classical phobias: The phobics recognize their fears as exaggerated, while the homophobes regard their anger as justified; the result of a phobia is avoidance, while the result of homophobia is aggression; the term homophobia is used in a political context, while general phobias rarely or never appear in a political context; those who are affected by classic phobias have psychological stress that arouses the desire for change, while homophobic people create stress in others and the desire for change is thus awakened externally.

For the etymological reason that homophobia denotes a phobia or irrational fear, NARTH  - an organization that advocates the possibility of a therapy for homosexuality - is of the opinion that the rejection of homosexual behavior on principle for moral, psychological or medical reasons is not yet considered Homophobia could be called. A. Dean Byrd - Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board and President-elect - says that a phobia is a serious mental illness and that homophobia is not a scientific term, but only a social construct. The same organization, for example, publishes several facts on its website from a study by a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases (by Maria Xiridou), from which monogamous people were excluded and which has already been disseminated in a distorted way via Christian news agencies in order to “objective criticism” of an undifferentiated and generalized to practice the formulated " homosexual lifestyle ".

In the course of the second wave of the lesbian and gay movement , the term was also used in German-speaking countries from the early 1970s.


In 1967 Wainwright Churchill published his book Homosexual Behavior Among Males, where he used the word homoerotophobia (German "Homoerotophobia"), composed of the Greek words homós "equal", éros "love" and phóbos "fear", in a very similar context.

Other less common synonyms are dread of homosexuality ("Scheu / Furcht von Homosexualität", Hoffman, 1968), anti-homosexualism ("Anti-Homosexualismus", Hacker, 1971), homosexphobia , ("Homosexphobie", Levitt & Klassen, 1974), homonegativism ("Homonegativism", Hudson and Ricketts, 1980) and homosexism ("Homosexism", Hansen, 1982).

The lesbians and gays who organized themselves in civil rights movements soon supplemented the term homophobia with the term heterosexism in order to indicate - in parallel to terms such as racism and sexism - an exclusionary social and cultural ideology and the institutional oppression of non-heterosexual people (see also below: differentiation from other terms ). In the German-speaking world, the term took hold relatively late in the 1980s. Often, heterosexism is used synonymously with homophobia.

A synonym is antihomosexuality ( anti- from Greek ἀντί "against, against"). Mainly it is used as an anti-homosexual adjective . The connotation is a little milder and easier to understand for the inexperienced. The English version antihomosexual has been used since the mid-1950s at the latest. In German it seems to have emerged around the same time as homophobia. In addition, there are the more specific adjectives anti- gay and anti- lesbian without matching nouns.

Also easier to understand, but with a sharper connotation, are hostility towards homosexuality and hostility towards homosexuality and the associated adjectives. Often the terms are used as a Germanization or explanation of homophobia. In addition, there is anti-gay and anti-lesbian with appropriate adjectives.

Expressions and frequency of homophobia

Homosexuality legal
  • Same sex marriages
  • Other forms of same-sex partnerships
  • Recognition of same-sex marriages (concluded at home or abroad)
  • Conditional recognition of same-sex partnerships at federal, but not state, level
  • No recognition of same-sex partnerships
  • Restriction of freedom of expression
  • Homosexuality illegal
  • De jure punishable, de facto no prosecution
  • Sensitive penalties
  • (Prison for life
  • death penalty
  • Depending on the severity, homophobia ranges from prejudice to pronounced aversion and support for discrimination or state repression against homosexuals to extreme hatred and physical violence against homosexuals. There are also known cases in which homosexuals were murdered or seriously injured simply because of their sexual orientation (e.g. Matthew Shepard ). In some states the killing of homosexuals is even organized by the state: in five Islamic countries homosexual acts among men are punishable by death. The criminal liability is derived from the Sharia, which, however, does not provide for any specific penalty for such acts. In Germany ( Section 175 ), too , heterosexism and homophobia have long contributed to the persecution of homosexuals. Today homosexual acts are free from punishment in all western industrialized countries (including all of Europe, the USA and Canada); see the article Laws on Homosexuality .

    The sociologist Michael Bochow from the Berlin Social Science Center writes about a study from 1991:

    "In a representative survey financed by the Federal Ministry of Research and Technology in 1991, 42 percent of West Germans and 36 percent of East Germans agreed with the statement: 'In the presence of homosexuals one can get physically unwell.' Half of those questioned among workers and pensioners agreed (Bochow 1993). If an overall picture of the individual results of the survey of 2222 Germans is attempted, it can be concluded that at least one third of the German population must still be classified as strongly anti-gay; another third is ambivalent, i.e. H. not entirely anti-homosexual, but by no means free of negative or clichéd attitudes. However, the study also provides clear indications that the homophobia in (West) German society has decreased since the 1970s. "

    Overall, it can be established among adults in Germany in the last decade that homophobia in German society due to the changes in the representation in the media and various information campaigns, the visualization of homosexual politicians and homosexual people / couples in everyday and professional life as well as the changed legal situation and Jurisprudence (see judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court) on the constitutionality of gay marriage has declined.

    A representative survey conducted as part of the annual “ Thuringia Monitor” conducted by the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in 2013 produced the following results: 29% of those surveyed agreed with the statement that homosexual relationships were unnatural, with a range of 14% for the 18 to 24-year-olds ranged to 41% for those over 60. Men were more homophobic than women and religious people were more homophobic than non-religious.

    Homophobia among teenagers

    On the question of the extent to which homophobia is widespread among adolescents, different studies are available, which arrive at different assessments of the tendency towards the decline or spread of homophobia among adolescents.

    In the youth language , on the other hand , the word gay can still be found or again as a swear word , which is used as a synonym for "boring", "annoying" or even "bad". Fagot is a swear word often used in youth language.

    The spread of homophobia among young people, the causes of which are justified differently, should be considered separately. A representative oral survey by the market research institute iconkids & youth among 669 12- to 17-year-old adolescents in 2002 showed:

    “61% of German young people have a negative attitude towards 'gays' and 'lesbians', they find them 'not' or 'not at all good'. […] The young people were asked on a 5-point scale how well they found different scenes and social groups. The survey also showed that girls are more tolerant than boys. While 71% of the boys openly admitted their negative attitude towards 'gays', only 51% of the girls expressed reservations about homosexuals. "

    According to the above-mentioned study by iconkids & youth , rejection of homosexuals among young people has grown in recent years.

    Demonstration 2015: Foot group with banner against global homophobia

    In a global survey of 3,050 young people carried out on behalf of the BBC World Service in 2006 , 47% of 15 to 17 year olds answered in the negative: “Do you think homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals?” (“Do you think homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals? ”). 39% answered yes to this question, 13% had no opinion, 1% did not want to answer. 15- to 17-year-old young people were interviewed in ten “key cities” (New York, Nairobi, Cairo, Lagos, Rio, Baghdad, Delhi, Jakarta, Moscow, London; however, the question about homosexuality was not asked in Cairo and Baghdad) . Young people in different cities differed from homosexual citizens with regard to their consent to equality (e.g. 74% of young people in Rio are in favor of equality, 67% in New York, 43% in Moscow, 36% in London, 8% in Nairobi). Social scientists point out that attitudes towards sexual orientation are more liberal in big cities than in rural areas.

    Another study by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D. C. found that young people in the United States today are more tolerant of the issue of homosexuality compared to their previous generation.

    Homophobia among believers


    According to the Islam scholar Thomas Bauer, Islam has been tolerant of homosexual people for more than a thousand years. Bauer emphasizes that there was "no trace of homophobia" to be found in the Arab-Islamic cultural history between 800 and 1800. Numerous homoerotic poems have come down to us from Islamic literature. According to Bauer, it was not until the 19th century that the West introduced the “fight against messy sex” in the Middle East as part of colonization. Prior to 1979, in a thousand years, there was no known case in the Islamic Middle East and North Africa in which a man had been criminally charged for consensual sex with another man.

    The conservative view of Islamic law, based less on the Koran than on various traditions of hadith  , regards  homosexual intercourse  (liwāṭ, siḥāq)  as a punishable offense, provided certain conditions are met. The question of the type of punishment has led  to dissent in the Islamic schools of law  ( Madhāhib ) . Opinions ranged from flogging to the death penalty.

    In Muslim migrant communities in Europe, the issue of homosexuality is seldom addressed openly and is mostly viewed as an issue relevant to the culture of the majority society and not the migrant community. Parents put pressure on their children to get married straight. In a representative survey by Info GmbH among Turks in Germany in August 2012, 51 percent of those questioned expressed the conviction that homosexuality was a disease.

    On the occasion of the premiere of two documentary films with homosexual and transsexual Muslims, the taz reported on their homophobic environment in the Islamic societies of Turkey and Iran and how the actors deal with it.

    Homosexuality is valued differently in Islamic countries and legally classified differently by the state. There is currently no state recognition of homosexual couple relationships in any Islamic state. Homosexual acts are not prohibited in the Islamic states of Albania , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Indonesia , Jordan , Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan , Kosovo , Mali , Tajikistan , Chad and Turkey . In most Islamic states, homosexual acts are prosecuted with different prison terms. These include the states of Afghanistan (currently no sovereign sovereignty), Algeria , Egypt , Bahrain , Bangladesh , Brunei , Gambia , Guinea , Comoros , Iraq , Qatar , Libya , Malaysia , Maldives , Morocco , Oman , Pakistan , Senegal , Singapore , Somalia ( currently no sovereignty), Syria , Tunisia , Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan . Seven countries, Iran , Nigeria (northern parts of the country), Mauritania , Sudan (before South Sudan's declaration of independence , only in the northern parts of the country), Yemen , Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates , face the death penalty.


    Christian demonstrator: " Turn to Jesus, study the Bible " (German: "Turn to Jesus, read the Bible")

    Some of the conservative Christians, including Roman Catholic Christians as well as members of the evangelical Mülheimer Verband , see - among other things - due to several biblical verses (→ Bible texts on homosexuality ) practiced homosexuality as a sin and strong same-sex attraction as negative on. They are accused of homophobia and intolerance by gay and lesbian civil rights organizations as well as by liberal Christians and young American Christians.

    For example, in a survey by the Barna Group, an evangelical polling company from the United States, 91% of non-Christians (440 participants) and 80% of the Churchgoers (305 participants) said that “anti-homosexual” describes the attitude of Christianity in this regard well from their perception. In addition to the well-known opposition of Christians to homosexuals, both groups gave as reasons for this view that Christians have exaggerated contempt and loveless attitudes towards gays and lesbians. In the group of young Christians, one of the most frequently mentioned criticisms was that the churches made homosexuality a “greater sin” than any other. The young Christians also claim that the churches have not helped them reconcile the biblical teachings on homosexuality with their friendships with gays and lesbians.

    Even in conservative Christian "assistance for change" the particular aversion of many is pointed out:

    “Unfortunately, evangelical Christians all too often treat homosexuals as sinners of a particularly hopeless class. This speaks from most of the life testimonies of homosexuals or ex-homosexuals who sought help in pious circles. Christian pastors confirm this as a frequent need. To clarify, a young affected woman is quoted here: 'I am beginning to get tired of such Christians who accept converted adulterers, prostitutes, alcoholics and masturbators, but who snap back like a viper when a homosexual seeks help. You get the impression that you are about to vomit when you talk to me. They watch and analyze me and look for behavioral errors. You cannot forget my past as if Jesus came into the world to save everyone except a homosexual. ' [...] "

    - Federation of Free Church Pentecostal Congregations : 2004

    In 2007, as part of the US Religious Landscape Survey , the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life asked believers whether a homosexual lifestyle should be accepted or rejected by society (the remainder from 6-14% to 100% said otherwise or gave no answer ). This resulted in the following ranking: Jehovah's Witnesses (12% accept, 76% reject), Mormons (24% / 68%), Evangelical churches (26% / 64%), Muslims (27% / 61%), historically black churches ( 39% / 46%), Hindus (48% / 37%), Orthodox churches (48% / 37%), mainline churches (56% / 34%), Roman Catholic Christians (58% / 30%), others Christians (69% / 20%), "unbound" (atheists, agnostics, secular unbound, but also religious unbound; 71% / 20%), Jews (79% / 15%), Buddhists (82% / 12%) and other faiths (84% / 8%). The average was 50% acceptance and 40% rejection. The most noticeable changes have taken place among the Mormons since 2007, among other things in response to the strong commitment of the Mormon Church to a ban on same-sex marriage in California (vote “ Proposition 8 ”, 2008). According to the Pew Forum, advocacy for same-sex marriage has risen among all Christian groups as well as among secular unattached people. In 2001, for example, 38% of American Catholics and 30% of black Protestants supported same-sex marriage; in 2014 the proportion rose to 57% and 41%, respectively. Christians thus continued to lag behind the secular unbound, of whom 61% in 2001 and 77% in 2014 were in favor of same-sex marriage.

    In an empirical study of the connection between religiosity and various prejudices in 2007, a representative sample of Germans was asked about their self-assessed religiosity (“very religious”, “rather religious”, “rather not religious”, “not at all religious”). The vast majority of those questioned belonged to the Protestant or Catholic Church. The result of the investigation was that homophobia increased significantly with religiosity.

    A multi-level analysis in 79 countries published in the Berlin Journal for Sociology in 2011 showed that religious people have, on average, more negative attitudes towards homosexuality and homosexuals than atheists . However, this effect is moderated by religious affiliation . So are z. B. Hindus are less negative about homosexuality and homosexuals than Catholics.

    Amateur and professional football

    Left-wing homophobia

    The political left groups have had an ambiguous history and have undergone change over time. In the German Empire and in the Weimar Republic of Germany the SPD and partly also the KPD supported the abolition of § 175 moderately, but like the anarchists, for the most part they did not deal with their own homophobic prejudices and repeatedly instrumentalized them against political opponents. Homosexuality was seen as a phenomenon of decadence and associated with the classes of the nobility and the bourgeoisie . In Russia, for example, the criminality of homosexuality was abolished in the course of the revolution, but was reintroduced shortly afterwards. The still existing name "Golubčik" for gays comes from "Goluboj" ("blue") and is associated with the " blue blood " of the aristocracy, the rulers from pre-revolutionary times. Homosexuality was not accepted within the German left. It was largely assumed that they would simply no longer exist in a socialist society. But she should be free from punishment. All moral prejudices against homosexuality were always virulent in the struggle against the bourgeoisie, the nobility and, finally, fascism. This was evident, for example, in the Friedrich Alfred Krupp affair (1902), the Harden-Eulenburg affair (1907–1909) and the agitations against Ernst Röhm (from 1931).

    The latter was a big step towards the “homosexual National Socialist” stereotype. This was also due to the fact that in theoretical discourse since the beginning of the 20th century the ideals of masculinity, the cult of the leader, male associations and the patriarchal social order were exposed as being borne by homoeroticism and homosexuality. Especially in the German-speaking exile press, homosexuality was brought into an essential connection with National Socialism. This connection was explicitly suggested for the first time in August 1933 in the brown book published by the exile KPD on Reichstag fire and Hitler terror. There, through manipulated facts and the use of clichés, Marinus van der Lubbe , the alleged arsonist of the Reichstag , was declared a “ pleasure boy ”. The first reports about the persecution of homosexuals were interpreted by the exile press as internal disputes among the National Socialists. The alleged connection between homosexuality and National Socialists has also been tried to underpin with many empirical reports on (sometimes allegedly) homosexual National Socialists. Only a few came out against these representations, such as Klaus Mann, who was himself homoerotic : “We are about to make the scapegoat out of 'the' homosexual - 'the' Jews of the anti-fascists. That is horrible. ”The National Socialists, on the other hand, took action against members of the Wandervogel movement , priests, monks and nuns, (socialist) Jews and other unpopular people , among other things with the accusation of homosexuality . The so-called “ Röhm Putsch ” in particular was used for propaganda purposes in order to raise public opinion against homosexuals.

    After the Second World War , various people were respected for their work for left-wing targets, but their activities in the gay movement were hushed up for a long time, for example with the radical anti-militarist Kurt Hiller . By returning to left-wing analyzes of fascism in the 1930s as a result of the 1968 movement , the stereotype of the “homosexual National Socialist” was partially revived in West Germany. This can be found, for example, in the book Männerphantasien by Klaus Theweleit , where he claims that “male societies” tend “to develop 'homosexual practices' which, even if they are aggressive, are capable of turning into any other form of aggressiveness”. Today, however, such things, such as, in some cases, strongly sexualized initiation rites in male societies, are assessed differently by sociology and psychology and are themselves described as acts with a homophobic element. Many early activists of the second wave of the lesbian and gay movement from the end of the 1960s onwards felt that they belonged politically to the left without being accepted by it. The majority in these circles did not deal with the relevant issues. As a result, an independent homosexual movement arose, which developed around local groups and emerging gay and lesbian projects, even if there were individual personal contacts and overlaps. Over time, the homosexual movement became civic law. One consequence of these developments is the so-called queer dispute . The newly formed Greens first developed a great deal of political support. After that, the attitudes of the socialist parties changed and support for the interests of the homosexual movement increased. Party-internal thematic groups such as the German Schwusos also contributed to this . Some time after the collapse of the Soviet Union , the attitudes of some communist parties also changed, some of which were modernized, and in the 2000s there were also party-internal or party-affiliated themed groups.

    Eastern bloc and GDR after 1945

    In the “socialist” countries close to the Soviet Union, homosexuality was often viewed as a primarily “capitalist” or “Western” evil. In countries like Cuba or China, this is still evident today, despite legalization and increasing recognition. In the GDR, in contrast to the Federal Republic in 1948/49, the tightening of § 175 from 1935 was recognized in principle as a National Socialist legal asset, and from then on, the version from the Weimar Republic and, in addition, the stricter § 175a for relationships from National Socialism applied to teenagers. In the political discussions about draft laws, however, the prejudices of the SED against homosexuals became apparent again and again. The utopias mentioned at the beginning of this section of the “overcoming of homosexuality” in socialist society and the “remnant” of run-down classes also had an effect. The commission for the reform of criminal law in the 1950s wrote: “Remnants of the past can of course also exist in these homosexual apparitions. Losing one's social roots is not enough. We don't have to punish them, we have to determine whether there are remains and whether they have to be fought. ”A court ruling made homosexual acts among adults virtually impunity from 1957, from 1968 with the passage of a new penal code, also according to the law, and 1987 A special criminal liability for same-sex contacts was completely lifted. The abolition of criminal liability did not, however, lead to greater tolerance. Openly gay life was next to impossible. The conflicting positions of the labor movement on homosexuality were also reflected in the politics of the SED. “The socialist society it propagated favored lifelong, monogamous and reproductive marriage. This norm determined their sex policy and sex education. […] There was no place for being gay in it. In same-sex desire, which could be freely chosen and lived, the SED saw a danger for socialist morality, for the 'moral feeling of the working people'. "The Stasi monitored everything that developed independently of the party line, including the small" Scene". An emancipation movement that developed in the 1970s met resistance from the state apparatus, and organizations were refused admission on the grounds that sexuality was a private matter and consequently there was no need for such an organization. Only with the emergence of an independent opposition movement did a political homosexual movement emerge from the 1980s, mostly under the protection of the Church, which was clearly again monitored by the Stasi. At the highest level, the Ministry of State Security worked out a plan of action to deal with the homosexual movement, with the aim of preventing any organization.

    Homophobic prejudice

    Behind homophobia and anti-homosexual violence in various forms, there are emotional defenses, cognitions , prejudices and misconceptions about gays and lesbians. Simplifications about “the gays” or “the lesbians” lead to social stereotypes . These can be defined as the implicit personality theories shared by a group with regard to that group or another group. In addition to the purely cognitive dimension, there is often an evaluative meaning. "Stereotypes are a product of the mental reconstruction of what is considered real by individuals, whereby not their life experiences, but also their needs, wishes and intentions are expressed." In general, prejudices are dealt with in a very specific way:

    Prejudice against homosexuals prejudice
    Homosexuals conform to the stereotype of the gender to which they do not belong. Gays behave “female”, and conversely, lesbians are more likely to be “male women”. If gays pointedly effeminate behavior or lesbians emphasized masculine , so gegengeschlechtlich, then this serves at times as a "tool" in the emancipation of gender - stereotypes . The gay subgroups of bears , muscle and leather men or the lesbian femmes form the antithesis of this prejudice.
    If there were more and more homosexuals and homosexual culture prevailed, humanity would have to die out, so homosexuality is harmful. Some religions call for “homosexuals to be killed because their activity will lead to the extinction of mankind.” Homosexuals are a threat to population growth and the people will perish if they do nothing against homosexuals. Homosexuality is a "demographic problem". There is a direct or indirect connection between the decline in the birth rate and homosexuality or recognition of same-sex partnerships. The prejudice hits gays more often than lesbians. At the time of National Socialism, for example, women were often described as only “pseudo-homosexual” and “curable” through heterosexual intercourse. In the case of homosexual men, on the other hand, “fertility is wasted, they are mostly eliminated from procreation, with women this is not the case, or at least not to the same extent”. Homosexuals were and are a minority and will remain so. No real increase can be seen, only the visibility is higher than before. There are also some gays and lesbians who have children from other relationships or experiences. Priests are also a minority because of which humanity will not become extinct, and even Vatican City is not extinct . See also: " Fall of the West ".
    All gays have many and frequently changing sexual partners, so they are promiscuous . In practice there are two trends here. Many gays live just as (serially) monogamous as heterosexuals. But there is quite a large group that has a lot of sexual contacts , and it is not so rare that so-called " open partnerships " are entered into. Before 1982 ( AIDS ), however, the number of promiscuous men was higher. According to the Styrian and German AIDS Help , many heterosexual adults underestimate the risk of infection and get tested for HIV too late. Gays and other men who have sex with men , on the other hand, are most frequently examined for possible HIV infection, according to Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe.
    Gays want to have sex with all other men. This results from a selective perception and from an underestimation of the very personal selection criteria of homosexual men. Such behavior is no more common among gays than heterosexuals.
    Above all, gays want sex with children or young men. Much more gays than heterosexuals commit sexual abuse of children. Since homosexuals have no problem crossing the “natural barriers”, they do this more easily with children. Attempts are made again and again to underpin an accumulation of specifically homosexual abuse with pseudo-scientific studies.

    In the Roman Catholic Church, both the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Austrian Bishops' Conference do not regard the exclusion of homosexual persons in the education and training of young people, even outside the church, as “unjustified discrimination”. The Roman document prompted the American moral theologian Richard Peddicord , among other things , to state that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith could not easily be defended against accusations of homophobia.

    In Austria from the post-war period until the minor reform of criminal law , Roland Graßberger , head of the Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology from 1945 to 1975, significantly shaped "the image of the homosexual child molester " with his expert reports , as he underpinned by his interpretation of the statistics that the "male homosexual "Regardless of age, [...] primarily child-like and adolescent partners aged 12–19". It was not until 1971 that he made it clear that there was “no significant difference” between homosexuals and heterosexuals when it came to the “burden of paidophilia”.

    A statistical accumulation of specifically homosexual abuse of minors has not been proven. Studies of perpetrators come to the conclusion that most perpetrators of same-sex child abuse are heterosexual or at most bisexual, are mostly married and have children themselves. The only two studies she supported on sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church of the American John Jay College (2004, 2011) also come to the conclusion that although most of the victims were male like the perpetrators, the perpetrators were not homosexual but rather easier access to male victims through the usual way of dealing with them. The rate of abuse also fell in the mid-1980s, at a time when significant numbers of homosexual men were beginning to become priests.

    A major fallacy of the pseudoscientific studies is to compare apples with pears, “homosexual / same-sex abuse” with “bi- or homosexual orientation or identity”, and even if the sexual orientation of the perpetrators is mentioned, it is ignored. Some still contrast a deliberately low percentage estimate of the proportion of gays in the total population (see also the last item on the list) with a deliberately high estimate of all cases of same-sex abuse and distort the statements of the studies used. Sometimes the authors of the original studies request that their mention be deleted. The actual orientation of the perpetrators (e.g. other MSM and otherwise heterosexual people) and their motives (e.g. power, sadism) are completely disregarded. Thus any same-sex abuse is only blamed on open, self-confident gays.

    The stereotype that homosexual men are more dangerous to children than heterosexual men was also used in a study on the threat of stereotypes . There, those gays who had to indicate their orientation directly beforehand showed significantly stronger non-verbal indicators of fear and were more clumsy in dealing with the preschool children than those who did not have to indicate it. No significant difference could be found in the heterosexual comparison groups; those with the question tended to show slightly less non-verbal fear, but no difference in handling.

    Overall, belief in this prejudice is decreasing. When asked whether homosexuals should be employed as elementary school teachers , only 27% clearly affirmed this in Gallup surveys in the USA in 1977, in 1992 it was 41%, 2003: 61%, 2005: 54% and 2009: 69%

    Some gays, relatively speaking, prefer younger, but not necessarily adolescent, partners; in this, however, they are in no way different from heterosexual men. It is believed that the " youth craze " has a basis in biology . Women are no longer fertile after a certain age, but men are able to reproduce well into old age. A youthful appearance signals sexual vitality , so the focus of sexual desire shifts towards younger sexual partners.

    Gays are inferior to heterosexual men in terms of physical strength and dexterity. Typical cliché: gays can't play football. This is what Lothar Matthäus said in 1996. No differences are detectable. A cinematic treatment of this topic takes place in men like us .
    Gays and lesbians can easily be recognized by their appearance. The selective perception causes of those homosexuals who deliberately make their appearance one of the common stereotypes according to which set of all homosexuals is generalized. In practice, however, most homosexuals are completely " straight " and not recognizable as homosexual - unless they use certain symbols, e.g. B. a rainbow flag sticker on the car.
    The proportion of homosexual and bisexual people in the total population is negligible and this group is therefore of no social relevance. It is often argued that the 10% from the Kinsey study is wrong and in fact less than 1%, only 1.4%, 2.6% of adults, or only 2.8% of men and 1.4% of Women (on average 2.1%) are “genuinely homosexual”, and in addition, for many it is deliberately changeable. Kinsey himself is often accused of being bisexual and a sex addict , making his investigation tendentious and inadequate. Reliable estimates put the proportion of homosexuals in the total population at around 5%, although there are more gays than lesbians and because of the specific rural exodus they make up around 8–10% of the population in large cities and correspondingly less in rural areas. In addition, there are many bisexuals and people who feel a more or less pronounced same-sex attraction. Every study in this regard has to struggle with a variety of methodological pitfalls in addition to the definition of what is really homosexual now. Kinsey's 10% were people who had been more or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years. More important to Kinsey was the following statement: “The world must not be divided into goats and sheep.” 4% have been exclusively homosexual in their life, and 50% have never had any psychological or physical same-sex experiences, there is a wide field in between. Later, differently filtered analyzes (also with the exclusion of the prisoners) of the Kinsey data did not lead to any major questioning of his study statements. According to statistics from the British government, there are officially 3.6 million homosexuals in England, which corresponds to about 6% of the total population.

    Discrimination against (male) homosexuality

    National surveys and other research have found that heterosexual men have more negative attitudes towards homosexual men than heterosexual women. Women make little or no difference when assessing lesbians and gays, while men are significantly more tolerant of lesbians than gay men. In a study, heterosexual men who feel threatened in their masculinity reacted particularly negatively to homosexuals who were subjectively perceived as feminine.

    In many countries, specific criminal laws criminalized or only criminalized male homosexuality. With Section 175 of the West German Criminal Code, for example, there was a special criminal law that only criminalized sexual acts between persons of the male sex , until 1969 as a total ban and until 1994 as an increased age of consent . In Austria, Section 129 I StG (from 1975 Section 209 StGB) was formulated gender-neutral at the time of the total ban, but women were convicted much less often, and from 1971 to 2002 the increased age of consent only applied to same-sex contacts between men, as it did until 1989 the prohibition of prostitution.

    Homosexual men are more likely to be victims of extreme violence than lesbians. Homophobia can also assume very specific physical violence towards women, for example corrective rape - rape as an alleged "attempt at healing". A structural, widespread homophobia in society can turn discrimination against male homosexuality into physical and psychological violence. The violence often violates the personal rights of the victims and is committed in the form of criminal acts, mainly in the form of verbal hostility (insults §185 StGB), bullying (defamation §186 StGB) and light, but sometimes also serious bodily harm (StGB §223) .

    Causes of Homophobia

    Social psychological perspective

    From the perspective of social psychology , the social learning of prejudices and stereotypes is the cause of homophobia. They are already imparted during socialization . Prejudices and expectations of the social environment (including religious beliefs, for example) are adopted. Once prejudices and stereotypes are present, they continuously reinforce themselves, as one perceives precisely what corresponds to the stereotype in homosexuals .

    Depth psychological perspective

    The susceptibility to this social-psychological mechanism is not equally pronounced in all people. From the point of view of depth psychology , homophobia serves to ward off fears , and the stronger the lower a person's self-esteem , the lower their social integration and the worse their social situation . However, the fears of the discriminating people are not directly noticeable, which is why the thesis that fear is the main cause of discrimination is initially difficult for many to understand. Depth psychology names the following unconscious fears and needs that would be kept out of consciousness with the help of homophobia:

    Fear of own lesbian or gay traits
    The fear of homosexual parts of one's own sexuality is one of the reasons for discrimination against homosexuals. Studies with right-wing extremist youth groups who practice violence against gays and who are emphatically harsh and masculine (such youth groups are not to be equated with “ skinheads ” who are politically very heterogeneous ) would also speak for this . Subliminal homoerotic tendencies, which also exist in such men's groups, would arouse "far above average fear of their own homosexuality" in these young people. Rauchfleisch takes the view that it is often not so much about their own homosexual parts, but about the passive-receptive parts that are always present, which these young people mistakenly understand as femininity and this in turn mistakenly as homosexuality. The fear of one's own homosexual elements is often based on the even greater fear of being touched emotionally.
    Fear of social insecurity and the pursuit of power
    People in a socio-economically difficult situation would rather adopt ubiquitous (heterosexist) social norms , since the harmony with such norms conveys security on the one hand and homosexuals, on the other hand, a group that is supposedly even weaker has been found.
    Fear of questioning central norms
    Homosexual orientations and an openly homosexual life challenged traditional , conservative social norms. According to social psychological studies by Adorno et al. we all have tendencies to react to unfamiliar behavior with uncertainty and often with aggressiveness. In addition, those who deviate from the rules are not only despised or hated, but are often unconsciously envious of their freedom.
    Fear of the "attack" on the traditional family
    The fact that two lesbians or two gays live together intimately and in partnership is an affront from the point of view of people who can imagine the only form of coexistence between men and women. Nowadays, even heterosexual couples often do not maintain the traditional role hierarchy of a nuclear family , but this role hierarchy is more visibly called into question by homosexual couples. Men in a partnership with traditional roles are more likely than women to feel threatened by the fact that rights and duties have to be renegotiated over and over again in homosexual relationships and that there are no fixed positions of power.
    Fear of questioning the current ideal of masculinity
    It is not primarily about the fact that some gays behave effeminately ("feminine"), but about the fact that gays often also live their "soft" sides, which many straight men do not allow themselves, although they - according to Rauchfleisch - have them equally . In addition, those heterosexual men whose relationships with other men are mainly characterized by rivalry often felt provoked by the fact that a gay man is emotionally and intimately connected with another man. The fear that traditional gender roles and masculinity would be drastically called into question by homosexuality lead to profound insecurity among those affected, who they do not admit to themselves, but fend off by devaluing homosexuals.
    The "different" par excellence
    On the one hand, through their sexual orientation and z. Some of them question norms through their way of life, so that they would be pushed into an outsider position. On the other hand, it is known from social psychology that aggressions that actually apply to authorities are redirected to supposedly weaker people, to minorities (see above: Adorno). Studies show that such aggression can quickly be shifted to other minorities, for example Jews or foreigners.

    Scientific investigations

    Sexual arousal while watching videos of homosexual acts
    group Excitation (tumescence)
    barely moderate clearly
    homophobic men 20% 26% 54%
    not homophobic men 66% 10% 24%

    The thesis that homophobia is also caused by the defense against one's own gay or lesbian interests is supported by a study carried out by Professor Henry E. Adams in 1996 at the University of Georgia . The swelling (tumescence) was measured by means of phallography . It was found that 54.3% of the 35 homophobic subjects (for comparison: 24.1% of the 29 non-homophobic subjects) were sexually clearly aroused when watching videos showing sexual acts between men. A total of 64 men took part in the study, all of whom had described themselves as exclusively heterosexual.

    These research results are interpreted in psychology in such a way that homophobic attitudes of some men also arise from the fact that they do not want to deal with their own sexual arousal by men. The question of comparable examinations with female subjects is still unanswered, although women have all anatomical requirements. (See also the section on Discrimination against (male) homosexuality .)

    Cornell University sociologist Robb Willer reviewed the masculine overcompensation theory of psychology in 2004 . The study showed that men who are insecure about their masculinity are more likely to have macho attitudes, which is also reflected in an increased tendency to homophobia. 111 male and female test persons filled out a questionnaire that was supposed to allow conclusions to be drawn about their gender identity . The test subjects were divided into two groups and, regardless of their actual answers, they were told that the test indicated a more male or female identity. Attitude questions were then asked that showed the effects of the feedback on the men. Subjects shaken in their male identity showed more support for a ban on same-sex marriages , more opposition to the lesbian and gay movement and said more often that it is wrong to be gay. They also showed more support for the Iraq war and more interest only in a sport utility vehicle (SUV) and no other type of car. These attitudes had been identified as “typically male” in an earlier study. They were also more embarrassed, guilty, dismayed, and hostile. In women, the response behavior did not change in this study.

    Sociological perspective

    According to the social psychologist Gregory M. Herek, homophobia arises from the fear of not being able to fulfill the requirements of the male gender role and the fear of the feminization of the male body. Herek sees homophobia as an integral part of heterosexual masculinity. Homophobia - e.g. B. in the form of anti-gay abuse - is used especially by male adolescents to position themselves gender and to prove their masculinity.

    Analyzes of homophobia that are critical of society arose and arise primarily in the context of queer theory . The work of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick , Judith Butler and Mark Simpson is particularly important in this regard.

    Some observers attribute homophobic behavior to a lack of economic, technical, cultural or intellectual prosperity .

    Classification in other negatively perceived groups

    In 2002 the Research Association for Conflict and Social Studies conducted a survey on "hate groups" in German society. The survey was carried out using questionnaires sent by post to random addresses from a card index, of which 1,846 were returned. The questions applied were about conceivable encounters in the everyday world and about "noticeable aversions" that occurred. Attitudes, prejudices and stereotypes can be the basis for discriminatory, exclusive and aggressive behavior. The majority of the answers (80%) came from the east of Germany, some from the west of Germany (20%), although this study showed no major differences in the frequency of rejection. In quantitative terms, a hierarchy of "hate groups" emerged:

    1. People with right-wing extremist outfits rejected 82% of the respondents
    2. Drug addicts were rejected by 70% of those questioned
    3. A mix of immigrants from Eastern Europe, those released from prison, people of Arab origin, people of Turkish origin, homeless people, people who look rich, people with HIV infection, gays and lesbians, street children, foreigners in general was rejected by 50% to 20% of the respondents.
    4. A mix of people of Jewish origin, with dark skin or of Asian descent, people who can be seen as poor, was rejected by 20% to 15%.
    5. A mix of unemployed, young people, people with disabilities and old people was rejected by between 15% and 6%.

    In general, it was found that the reasons for dislike were not differences, looks or negative behavior of the groups, but that feelings such as fear and fear of people who are different are very influential. Those affected fear the loss of their own culture, their norms and values, their identity. Members of other groups are devalued in order to strengthen the status and value of their own group. For the mix of the third category, most of the reasons given were:

    1. I have personally had negative experiences with them (34%).
    2. I don't like your appearance. (31%)
    3. I just don't like them. (27%)
    4. They live like parasites . (26%)
    5. You are somehow too foreign to me. (21%)

    If one subdivides the individual groups into “ethnic-cultural” characteristics, “biological” characteristics (homosexuals, young people, people with disabilities, old people), “different social positions” and groups with “special behavior”, these are the top reasons for rejection for the "biological" group:

    1. You are dangerous.
    2. They do not adapt to the general public.
    3. You have bad behavior.

    Labor market competition and personal experiences generally rank in the last place. This can also be seen in the group of gays and lesbians:

    West Germany
    antipathy Yes Partially Yes and in part
    Respondents 14% 16% 30%
    East Germany
    antipathy Yes Partially Yes and in part
    Respondents 10% 18% 28%
    Main reasons in West Germany
    reason Share of Yes + Partly Ranking
    "They do not adapt to the general public" 70% 1
    "There are too many in this country" 68% 2
    "You have bad behavior" 61% 3
    "I have personally had negative experiences with them" 48% -
    "They are taking jobs away from us" 36% -
    Main reasons in East Germany
    reason Share of Yes + Partly Ranking
    "You are dangerous" 55% 1
    "They do not adapt to the general public" 52% 2
    "I just don't like her" 46% 3
    "They are taking jobs away from us" 26% -
    "I have personally had negative experiences with them" 17% -

    Phenomenon description and explanatory model

    Homophobia is a form of collective fear in cultural societies and groups that see their worldview , which is characterized by strict gender distinctions and rigid roles , threatened by same-sex feelings and behavior. Since some of the people (according to numerous statistical studies between 5 and 10%) cannot meet these role expectations due to their psychosexual disposition, homophobia in the form of hatred and aggression is directed against this minority with the aim of eliminating it. This tendency can express itself in the most varied of forms towards those who deviate from the norm: in disdain, disgust and social and professional exclusion, in calls for punishment or re-education, in the search for prevention methods (e.g. hormonal treatment of pregnant women, see Günter Dörner ) or therapeutic treatment (various psychotherapies, electroshock therapy etc.) up to killing ( witch hunt , extermination through work in the Third Reich, executions in various Arab countries, fememicide also in Germany). Homophobia thus becomes a permanent social problem, the spread of which can mainly be prevented by the privileged heterosexual majority society through solidarity, i.e. by opposing homophobia: through objection when homophobic ideas are spread, through anti-discrimination laws and permanent education, especially in schools.

    Homophobia becomes an individual problem insofar as it is directed against the opposite-sex components (see Kinsey scale ) that are present in almost every person (in different degrees ) and a strongly homophobic individual to split off these components and their repression into the unconscious and / or forces to project onto others. If this succeeds only partially or not at all, self-hatred develops, which is destructively directed against oneself, but can also trigger hatred reactions against others, which trigger same-sex desire in the individual.

    Social homophobia becomes particularly dangerous because the disgust for same-sex feelings is internalized by the children under its influence even before puberty and becomes more or less an integral part of their personality structure. With the awakening of genital sexuality in puberty, these children and adolescents are forced to maintain their self-esteem by protecting themselves from their own feelings through increasingly stronger homophobic defense mechanisms, which in turn triggers projections of hate in different directions (not only against homosexuals) and even individually or collective excesses of violence (for example “gay clapping”) or even acts of killing. If a homophobic individual's own same-sex drive component is so strong that the defense mechanisms cannot withstand it, autoaggression such as genital self-mutilation and suicide can occur (especially under the influence of religious feelings of guilt) , which has become rare in our culture.

    Since adolescent adolescents base their search for identity on the role expectations of their respective peer groups and their social environment and on the published opinion in their preferred mass media and cannot yet counteract these with self-determined values, they are particularly vulnerable to homophobic influences. In the Federal Republic of Germany, young people from cultures with strongly religiously based homophobia are particularly at risk of succumbing to homophobic influences and prejudices .


    After the world became generally a little more conservative from the 1930s onwards, the first wave of the homosexual movement in Europe had come to a standstill due to the National Socialists and the Second World War, and the homophile movement of the 1950s and 1960s in the USA and Europe, which sought recognition through adaptation, was not a special one brought social change, on the night of June 27-28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City , gays first resisted the degrading and insulting treatment by police officers. This event and the demonstrations that followed went down in history as the “ Stonewall ” and initiated the second phase of the lesbian and gay movement .

    On January 18, 2006, the European Parliament passed a resolution on homophobia in Europe. It "strongly condemns all discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation".

    The International Day against Homophobia, Biophobia, Interphobia and Transphobia is celebrated annually on May 17th .


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    "Homosexual Nazis" stereotype:

    See also

    Web links

    Commons : Homophobia  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
    Wiktionary: Homophobia  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

    References and comments

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      Ibid. Jacqueline Frossard: The lesbian woman as homosexual and as a woman in our society. In: Psychoscope. 2002, issue 2 ( lsbk.ch ).
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    49. ThaRealist: Philosophy Forum → Homosexuality in kOran , uni-protocol.de, October 11, 2006 19:46
    50. vetbaer: Where does this stupid argument "If all people were gay, would humanity die out?" de.answers.yahoo.com, September 2008.
    51. Lech Kaczynski : He is not for the persecution of homosexuals, for their occupational disabilities. But there is no reason to equate homosexual culture with heterosexual culture, let alone to promote it. "If it got the upper hand, then humanity would have to die out," he says. Report in:
      Severin Weiland: Scandal at Humboldt's speech - Kaczynski's toasted appearance. In: Spiegel Online . March 9, 2006.
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    53. "[34 million men, 20 million over 16, 1–2 million homosexuals] That means, if it stays that way, that our people will be destroyed by this epidemic. A people will not be able to endure in the long run that its gender household and equilibrium are so disturbed. ”- Heinrich Himmler on February 18, 1937 in a speech to SS group leaders; quoted in:
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