Homophobia is known as irrational aversion, prejudice and discrimination against homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals and bisexuals or LGBT community. The word homophobia is of Greek origin, formed by homos that means “equal” and phobos that expresses “fear” plus the suffix -ia that represents “quality”.
Homophobia is characterized by the rejection, fear, hatred or disgust felt by a group of people for homosexuality, in general. Initially, the term homophobia was used in 1966 by the American psychotherapist, writer, and activist George Weinberg.
Homosexuals suffer from discrimination at work, in the social environment, suffering from verbal, psychological, physical and even crimes. Since 1991, Amnesty International recognizes discrimination against homosexuals as a violation of human rights.
Homophobia is studied by psychologists and psychiatrists. Some studies reveal the relationship between hate and homosexuality with repressed transsexual feelings, that is, there are individuals who do not yet define their sexual identity, generating doubts and acts against those who have already defined their sexual preference. Other experts relate homophobia to certain mental structures of the personality, especially the authoritarian or dominant personality.
The origin of homophobia is due to social damages and cultural, political and religious influence. Authoritarian government policies such as: right-wing dictatorships (Hitler’s Germany, Francoism, Pinochet) or left-wing dictatorships (Cuba) have persecuted homosexuals, especially transgenders. On the other hand, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims assume homophobic tendencies.
Now, under democracy in some countries, the rights of homosexuals and even to marry have been recognized, as in Spain, Portugal, Argentina, France, Brazil, Denmark, several states of the United States and four states of Mexico, among others. But despite this, in other countries there is the jail sentence or the death penalty for individuals who are discovered as homosexuals.
The United Nations Organization recognizes May 17 as International Day Against Homophobia, commemorating the Exclusion of Homosexuality from the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Health Related Problems of the World Health Organization.