Dear Straight People: Stop Pinning Homophobia On “Closet Cases”

Straight friend reading this, if you consider yourself an ally, take a quick moment to yourself and think: when was the last time you interpreted someone’s homophobic outburst as “a closet case” with a smug smile on your face? The last time you assumed a toxically masculine straight man using the f-slur was just “secretly gay” and “in denial,” completely content with yourself not only for being observant enough to scope it out, but also for having the pleasure of entirely excluding yourself from any kind of prejudice? Well, boy, do I have some news for you: some people are just straight and hateful.

I’m in no way denying the existence of closeted gay or bi men who take their personal issues out on a community they don’t want to join and I very purposely say “men” because this more often than not is a male issue and not quite something that envelops the entire LGBT+ community. As it is a sad reality, I’m just pointing out that we may want to pay attention to another very common occurrence — that of straight people completely shifting blame of homophobia from themselves.

Here’s the thing: Homophobia is very, very common among heterosexuals. Pretending it isn’t is flat out hypocritical and delusional, just looking at it statistically: even going by potentially outdated statistics of 1 in 10 people being gay or bisexual, compared to the considerable amount of prejudiced cases, it simply doesn’t add up. Unless of course, you were to pretend homophobia isn’t that widespread, but what straight person would possibly do that?

But that’s not the only issue with blaming homophobia on closeted persons. You could invoke any number of evidence, but the fact is there is still a sizable amount of homophobes who have absolutely nothing to hide except bigotry. Which leads to something I view as a controversy: Isn’t that false shift of blame a somehow victim-shaming mentality? Bear with me for another paragraph or so. Let’s assume that your “convenient” theory is correct and every homophobic man indeed has repressed urges towards the same sex, which makes him a closeted man hating on openly gay/bi men. Who is the very creator of the concept of said closet? Straight people. Therefore, isn’t it highly contradictory blaming queer men for being effectively trapped in a construct they didn’t ask for?

Basically, my point is that if you’re as open-minded as you like to think, maybe you should consider the possibility that homophobia often comes from a place of ignorance and hatred and nothing hidden. Pinning it purely on those who are closeted is not only inaccurate, but also potentially dangerous. So next time you are about to nonchalantly call someone a “closet case,” take a moment to think of the simple possibility of a lack of education.

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