Redefining homophobia

Marques Anderson | Staff Writer

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, in a 2012 interview with the Baptist Press, said: “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. … We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

Since then, controversies over these and similar words and actions have continued, more recently in the form of analyzing the company’s donations. Critics have claimed that Chick-fil-A’s donations to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the Salvation Army, to name a couple, are in pursuit of pushing an exclusive, homophobic agenda.

The underlying issue I see with this situation is that those critics refuse to recognize the validity behind the purposes of those supported organizations and, thus, Chick-fil-A.

FCA, according to its website, is dedicated to unite “two passions – faith and sports – to impact the world for Jesus Christ.” The Salvation Army, according to its website, has a mission “to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

While some of the members of these organizations may disagree with another person’s lifestyle does not indicate that those members hate people with whom they may disagree. This is a fact that some people refuse to see.

Overall, I believe that there is a difference between having a reason to disagree with someone about their lifestyle and hating the people themselves because of their lifestyle. With that, I say that homophobia should be defined as, or similarly to, an illogical hatred for homosexuality.

Other Hampton University students agree that the term homophobia should imply hate rather than disagreement.

Nyasia Parks, a first-year political science major at HU, defines homophobia as “an irrational prejudice against those who love members of their own sex.”

I think the choice of words here is important: “Irrational” is defined as “not logical or reasonable” and “prejudice” as “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.”

This is a rather solid definition. No one should create opinions about people whom they have not met nor know anything about, without any concrete reasons or logic to do so.

Xander Roper, a freshman in computer science, said: “Homophobia is the fear of homosexuality. However, most people use the term in regards [to] intolerance.”

This is a more denotative definition, using the literal meanings of the prefix and suffix. The word “intolerance” is interesting here. It is defined as “unwillingness to accept views, beliefs or behavior that differ from one’s own.”

This definition is also applicable to what we are examining. Someone who refuses to change, or at least reconsider the validity of their beliefs, when presented with opposing reasoning, is one who prevents any discourse and any progression of facts, policies or discoveries.

Nevertheless, it is important for anyone who points out someone’s intellectual stubbornness to be sure they, themselves, are open to change.

“I think homophobia is the active discrimination against those who prefer other genders,” said Mikayla Roberts, a freshman in journalism. “For example, a person may have homophobic tendencies like making jokes or may display it on a regular basis by stating that that is not who they are.”

Discrimination and verbal violence have no place in healthy disagreements. I strongly believe in, and have seen, peaceful discussions by people with differing opinions about homosexuality.

Whether it be sexual, racial, religious or other, the promotion of diversity is quite obviously on the rise.

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