While people fight and bicker over race or creed, a real minority is getting trampled beneath mainstream society's feet. People are born with their sexual preferences, and shouldn't be targets because of it. They can't help being what they are any more than you can help having the color of skin you have. Sure, it's easy to say "I don't have an issue with gay/lesbian/trans people" but if you've ever cracked a joke about non-mainstream sexual practices or used the phrase "That's Gay" in a derogatory fashion, you're practicing a form of homophobia. Love is stronger than hate-- get involved, and let people know when they express anti LGBTQ sentiment, just as you would with racism, sexism, or any other kind of negative -ism. Only positive thinking and action can change the world positively.
Let other people know how you feel and spread positive awareness on the subject. Even Mother Teresa was for positive change-- she never went to an "anti-war" rally, but told every group that approached her she'd be more than happy to attend a "pro-peace" rally as soon as one was organized.
TEN WAYS HOMOPHOBIA AFFECTS STRAIGHT PEOPLE
1. Homophobia forces us to act "macho" if we are a man or "feminine" if we are a woman. This narrows our individuality and self-expression.
2. Homophobia puts pressure on straight people to act aggressively and angrily towards LGBTQ people.
3. Homophobia makes it hard to be close friends with someone of the same sex.
4. Homophobia often strains and/or divides family and community relationships.
5. Homophobia causes kids to become sexually active before they are ready in order to prove they are "normal." This can lead to an increase in unwanted pregnancies and STDs.
6. Homophobia prevents vital information on sex and sexuality to be taught in schools. Without this information, youth are put at a greater risk for HIV and other STDs.
7. Homophobia can be used to hurt a straight person simply if they "appear to be gay."
8. Homophobia makes it hard for straight people and LGBTQ people to be friends.
9. Homophobia along with racism, sexism, classism, etc. makes it hard to put an end to AIDS.
10. Homophobia makes it hard to appreciate true diversity and the unique traits that are not mainstream or "normal."
"HOMOWORK": WAYS TO FIGHT HOMOPHOBIA AS A STRAIGHT ALLY
1. Organize discussion groups to talk about the "Ten Ways Homophobia Affects Straight People."
2. Try to use neutral labels like "partner" or "significant other" instead of "boyfriend," "girlfriend," etc. when writing papers or talking to others.
3. Bring up LGBTQ issues in conversations with friends or in discussions with others.
4. Interrupt anti-LGBTQ jokes, comments or any other behaviors that make homophobia appear OK.
5. Support your local LGBTQ-friendly group or wear shirts, buttons, etc. that promote tolerance.
6. Don't make assumptions about peoples' sexual orientations or gender identities. Assume there are LGBTQ people in all classes, sports, meetings, daily life, etc.
7. Don't assume that "feminine-acting men" and "masculine-acting women" are not heterosexual.
8. Don't assume that "macho males" or "feminine females" are heterosexual.
9. Increase awareness by sharing this with others.
Appreciate Diversity! Enjoy humanity in all its wonderful forms! If everyone looked and acted the same, the world would be a boring place!