Heterophobia

8 Jul

I have never seen my title word used, nor defined.  I don’t think it exists.  And it is curious that it does not . . .

This will not be a gay-bashing post.  My God does not teach bashing anyone made in His image.  There are times His image is distorted in people, but that is another issue and requires compassion, not the attack mode.

Let’s break down the word:  “hetero” means “other” and “phobia” means “fear.”

If homophobia means fear of people who are homosexuals, heterophobia would mean fear of people who are heterosexuals.

I submit that either one actually indicates revulsion, not fear.

I don’t know of anyone who is afraid of homosexuals or heterosexuals; I do know people who are revolted by the way homosexuals have sex.  By projection, I can understand that some homosexual people may be revolted by the way heterosexuals have sex (particularly the ones of opposite gender whom they don’t find attractive at all).  

It happens, and the point of my post is not to try to figure out why but just to acknowledge that a lot of things happen in a fallen world for which explanations do not come easily.   

I don’t believe all homosexuals would have heterophobia, but I have known a few who probably did.  

A college professor of mine fit the stereotype of the “flamer” perfectly.  He had studied to be a Catholic priest, then left the profession for some reason.  He was still unmarried.  He would fawn all over the men in our class, particularly the tall, blue-eyed blonde who sat across the aisle from me.  He would come over to my friend’s desk, hanging on his every word and batting his eyelashes at him.

Yet, when his female students spoke up, he would go into attack mode and tear apart everything we said.  There was a definite aspect of humiliation to the way he treated us.  As outgoing as I am, I soon learned to shut up in that class.  It just wasn’t worth it . . .

My papers were another reminder of his revulsion or contempt.  They would come back with more red ink on them than black ink.  And he wrote smaller than anyone I have ever known!

I was shocked when my first semester with him ended and I got an “A.”  I soon learned that I just had to play the game with him.  I would put up with his abuse for a semester and go home with an “A.”  Since everything split perfectly along gender lines, I learned to not take the situation personally.  It was one of my first examples of not being universally liked.  It was probably good for me to learn that.    

It was years later that I realized there probably was an element of fear behind his revulsion because he seemed to apply it to every female, without exception.  But I would still say that he is the perfect example of what I would call heterophobia, and that the defining aspect of heterophobia appears to be revulsion, not fear.

Another professor during that period used to remind us that, while there is nothing new under the sun, our job as scholars (which is the word he used for us) was to “analyze and synthesize” everything in order to come up with a new way of combining old things.  He was a crusty old guy who was dying of cancer at the time, but I learned more from my one semester with him than I did from two years with the other professor.  

Thus my use of the word “heterophobia” and my observation that I have never heard it before.  I am sure someone, somewhere has used it.  As my beloved professor used to say, there is no completely original idea anywhere.  It has all been thought before.  But it is the way we combine a series of thoughts into new patterns that is original to us.  

I will just bet there is not another writer on the face of this earth who could have written this piece on heterophobia exactly the way I just did!!!

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