Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date

10-26-2015

Publication Title

The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology

Volume

Second edition

First Page

online

DOI

10.1002/9781405165518.wbeosh043.pub2

Keywords

homophobia, heterosexism

Abstract

“Homophobia” is a widely understood term referring to antihomosexual attitudes and practices, but terms such as “homophobia,” “heterosexism,” and “heteronormativity” point to different ideas of what “homosexual” means, and where opposition to same-sex relations originates. Gayle Rubin, relying on structural anthropology, proposes that it arises as a disciplinary mechanism used by men to exercise control over women’s reproductive power in families. Gender panic theory focuses particularly on how defensiveness against losing male status and privilege generates homophobia. Sociohistorical theories examine how homophobia increases or decreases according to the symbolic placement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the social status system. In the early twenty-first century, contradictory trends have led to improved citizenship rights for LGBT people in some countries, while others have reinforced or increased state and social violence against their LGBT populations.

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