What Are You Afraid Of?  
  By: Tuan N' Gai of Tuan N'Gai Enterprises  

Homophobia is usually defined as the fear or dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals; fear of homosexual behavior; hatred of, or deliberate acts against homosexuals. Homophobia, just like sexism or racism, is a cancer that eats away at the core one's need for human relationship. It's divisive and diabolical. In fact, it breeds nothing but destruction and persecution.

When you take a literal look at homophobia, it's a complex fear. One must understand that people are afraid of same gender loving (SGL) people. For most people who are homophobic, when they are in the presence of an SGL person, or if they are simply confronted with the subject, they feel like they have been placed in some type of immanent danger. Something about them is being threatened. So they react violently with words or actions that harass SGL people with ill treatment and injustice. One doesn't persecute what one does not fear, and one cannot persecute what he/she is not drawn to. That's why most SGL people who attend "main-stream" churches are bashed with the Bible. Those who bash are simply acting out their fear. For some reason, they are drawn to it, and because they are afraid of it they react violently. It's actually a cry for help. So, what exactly are they afraid of? What is it about the SGL individual or community that has people feeling so threatened? And in the church setting, why are "so-called" Christians so afraid?

One thing they are afraid of is what they don't understand. The deeper issue is, what one cannot understand, one cannot control. If there are no concrete answers as to who, what, when, where, why and how one is SGL, then that information cannot be controlled, manipulated, or even disproved. Most Christian people don't have true relationship with God. They have relationship with the Bible. They don't look to God for answers, they look to the Bible. In fact they have made the Bible an idol. They delve into literal interpretations of the text, manipulate it to support their own believe system, and neglect to see or apply the spiritual message behind the text. They don't pray and ask God to change them, or their comfort zone, they simply take the text and make an attempt to use their interpretation of it to change the world around them so they can feel important, valued and comfortable. That's why they debate the Bible so much. The Bible (not God) is the source of everything they believe in, so when their knowledge of it is challenged, they become hostile and combative. They feel like you are telling them what they have been taught in the name of God is wrong. And they, in their arrogance can't be wrong, so they fight. Whether they have truly studied the subject or not.

The next level of fear is more personal and confronts one's arrogance. When a homophobic person comes face to face with SGL issues, they feel their nature is being threatened. Men feel their masculinity (or what they believe is masculine) is being threatened and likewise do the women as it relates to femininity. This only happens when one has allowed someone other than God to define who they are as a person. The definition of what is masculine and feminine varies from country to country, culture to culture. So, one who doesn't seek God for personal validation usually succumbs to whatever society says they are. They aren't strong enough to seek God for the definition of who they are, so they have to fit into what society says is normal to feel like they are validated. And when something other than what they have been told is masculine or feminine confronts them, they go crazy! For one to call a more soft spoken, mild mannered, cultured and refined or sophisticated man masculine is an insult to a thug. To tell a glamour girl that she isn't the ONLY definition of femininity is blasphemy. Most homophobic people see anything that doesn't validate who they are as a threat. They don't see anyone who isn't like them as human, genuine, or "real".

Furthermore, people are afraid of "public opinion". Nobody wants to be victimized. And as it related to homophobia, the best way to avoid being made a victim is to take a public stance against it. It's much like back in the day when white people learned that black people weren't subhuman. Yet they often kept their relationships with black people "in the closet" from fear of being called "nigger lover" and being treated badly. Heterosexual people who are uncomfortable about who they are usually take a stance against SGL people not because they don't like them, but because they don't want to be victimized like them. This victimization can be social, political, legal, financial, spiritual, mental, emotional, or any other way a person can be made a victim.

Now, take all that has just been said about homophobia and with your imagination, box it up, and place it inside of your heart. Internalize it. Make it a part of who you are. Let this imaginary "box of homophobia" become the center of your being. Not a very healthy picture….is it? Yet that's what so many of us have done. We have taken other people's fear and made it our own. Thus causing more conflict and imbalance in every aspect of our lives. It affects our relationships with God, ourselves, with others, and with the environment. It's like a weed that comes up and kills whatever good is planted. And not only will it kill what's inside of you…it will eventually destroy you!

The Bible says "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind". This verse is telling us that this "fear" is NOT something that God gave to us. So why, as children of God, would we accept ANYTHING that did not come from Him? Personally, I don't want ANYTHING that God hasn't given me. The spirit that God gave is one of Power, of Love, and of a Sound Mind. Whatever doesn't strengthen, validate, or clarify you in the spirit, thus enhancing your life, is not of God. For even the things God uses like words of rebuke, discipline, trials and tribulations make us stronger. They edify, not destroy. Fear makes people powerless, hateful, and confused. Again, THAT IS NOT WHAT GOD GAVE!

So how do you get rid of homophobia, be it internal or external?

  • Don't let anything around you reinforce fear or negativity where you are concerned. Fill your spirit with the Godly knowledge that edifies you. Fill your mind with God's living and affirming Word. In other words, STUDY the Word of God for yourself. Talk to God for yourself. EXPERIENCE God for yourself.
  • Seek and immerse yourself in positive environments that promote love and empowerment. If people are calling you derogatory names or verbally abusing you (like churches who bash)…this is not a good place. If you cannot find a place where you are being affirmed and appreciated, make one! Create an environment where you can experience God's unconditional love and share it with others.
  • Think and speak only positive things about yourself. You are your biggest cheerleader. Cheer yourself on! Look in the mirror, and tell yourself how lovable, beautiful, acceptable, and intelligent you are. Yes, all of us have room in our lives for improvement, but is so much good about us already! An old song says "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative." Do that with yourself. Accentuate what's good about you.
  • If you cannot seem to do these things for yourself, because the fear you've internalized is too deep or too strong, I urge you to seek counseling. Get some therapy. Work through the issues that cause your fear and overcome them.



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