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Homophobia

James J. Dean


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Three important areas of research have emerged on homophobia over the last 30 years. Since Weinberg (1972) first popularized the term homophobia in his book Society and the Healthy Homosexual , where he defined it as “the dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals,” we have seen the emergence of sophisticated psychological instruments, a vast array of surveys, qualitative ethnographies, and interview studies that explore the attitudes, feelings, and social practices that constitute homophobia. While scholars such as Sears and Williams (1997) now define homophobia more broadly as “prejudice, discrimination, harassment, or acts of violence against sexual minorities, including lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered persons,” psychological instruments have become more adept at detecting differences between homophobic attitudes and feelings. For example, MacDonald and Games's 30-item instrument Modified Attitudes Toward Homosexuality and Hudson and Rickett's Index of Homophobia, which uses a scale to measure reactions to homosexual individuals and situations, have become standard ways to assess homophobic attitudes and feelings in experimental studies. Although these instruments are able to differentiate between attitudes as cognitive beliefs about homosexuals and homosexuality and feelings as deeply seated emotional responses, they are still not able to capture how ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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