Posted: March 25, 2010 in FREE PSYCHOTHERAPY THURSDAY, Uncategorized
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Are racism and homophobia psychological disorders?

Did you hear about the two lesbian kids who wanted to go to the prom in Mississippi? The one girl wanted to wear a tuxedo and bring her long-time girlfriend.

The school board canceled the prom.

This couple has the right to be bored and let down by their high school prom just like heterosexual couples!

There’s been a lot of buzz on the internet about the right of the school board to make rules about uniforms and who can bring who. Many argue that it’s against the rules for a girl to wear a tuxedo to a prom.

At my prom in 1979 I remember one of the girls wore a tuxedo and she looked great.

What’s really the fear? Exposing other kids to lesbians? Allowing lesbians to go to the prom will make being lesbianism okay?

Many others say God intended for men to mate with women. Yet, there’s plenty of animals that do sexual things with each other and plenty of things people do all the time that go against what some people say are God’s wishes and people don’t get worked up over those things as passionately.

Here’s my theory. People tend to distrust and even hate something that’s different from them. Probably when we were cavemen that helped to keep us alive. We tend to flock towards things we’re familiar with and things that we connect with.

So if you’re white and you grew up in a neighborhood with no African-Americans or Latinos you might be afraid of them or believe stereotypes that you’ve been exposed to.

How do you get over it?

Well, first, you have to want to.

If you find power or solace in hating or distrusting others you probably will want to stay where you are in your beliefs.

If you want to not be racist or homophobic or ethnist (I think that’s the word), here’s my cure: Get to know people in that group.

You’ll find universally that people aren’t one thing.

You’ll find that humans share most emotions, fears and anxieties.

You’ll find people of these groups who you’ll like and ones that you’ll dislike.

Not liking a lesbian, gay person or a person of a different race isn’t being homophobic or racist. There are plenty of jerks in those groups like there are in your group.

Just don’t dislike them because of their group.

When you get a friend in a group different than yours, you find that you share the human experience more than you share anything else.

By the way, the state court said that Constance McMillan is entitled to attend her prom in a tuxedo with her girlfriend. Yeah Mississippi!

The school board has still canceled the prom.

  1. You’ve got to wonder who the School Board thought they were “protecting.” Presumably the other kids in school are well aware of this couple and many would think little of it. However, it takes only one threat from another student or parent to force the Board into such a drastic decision. I would hope what happens here in Chicago will happen there, where some group of parents pick up the ball and host a small dance on their own. Would be a nice way to show the community they are behind these two students!

  2. Jen Forbus says:

    I came to the conclusion awhile back that I simply am unable to understand people like this. Their logic is impossibly flawed and there is no defense of their actions or words, none.

    I would NEVER call it a disorder. It’s a learned behavior period!

    And since there is nothing nice I can say about such people, I’ll listen to my father’s advice and say nothing at all.

  3. Becca says:

    A lot of it depends on how you were raised. So, I would add, if you don’t want your kids to grow up bigoted, don’t raise them to be.

  4. Doering says:

    PBS Frontline did a program called ‘Assault on Gay America’ maybe a decade ago. I can’t remember the names of the researchers, but they did this great study on homophobia. First the researchers surveyed/interviewed the (straight male) study participants to assess if they were homophobic or not. Then they measured erectile response with a strain gauge while showing the participants various types of porn.

    Who do you think responded most to gay porn? Of course, those males who were also the most homophobic. Can’t completely conclude anything from this study because humans are so complex, but it alludes to the idea that some people who hate gays may do so because they hate this characteristic in themselves. It’s kind of a fun study to bring up to a raging homophobe, but of course also sad.

  5. Karl says:

    “This couple has the right to be bored and let down by their high school prom just like heterosexual couples!”

    Ha! My thoughts exactly. 🙂

  6. L.J. Sellers says:

    Homophobic attitudes are indirectly fostered by the language of our culture and anyone who uses the word gay as a negative comment, even if they’re talking about pants or hair style. Such casual slurs may seem innocent, but they do long-term damage. I deal with this subject in Secrets to Die For 🙂

  7. michael rivest says:

    I agree, Tom. “Homosexuality” is an intellectual abstraction. But homosexuality has no reality in the abstract. I always ask, “How many gays do you know? Bill? Mary? Good, let’s talk about them.”

    I read Libby Post’s TU blog pretty regularly, and have written in occasionally. I’ve never seen such ignorance and hatred like that displayed by some of the morons who write in.

    Strange world we live in, Tommy-boy. Sometimes I think you and I are the only normal ones. But you’ve been acting strange lately…

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