So, working in a tertiary environment, Im pleased to see signs going up around the place today that we are a "homophobia free zone" Great news, and good that its being publicly stated with stickers and posters all over campus, but it has got me thinking, what is classified as "homophobia"?
I have no problem with light hearted jokes, or the purposeful stating of a bi/les comment to make a joke more applicable to me. I only find behaviour such as attacking me for my sexual identity or excluding me because of my sexual identity homophobic. Fortunately Ive not really been the victim of homophobic behaviour (just the mouthing off of drunk dickheads out on the town)
What do you all find to be homophobic behaviour? What is or isnt acceptable to you in terms of other people highlighting your sexual identity? Have you experienced homophobic behaviour?
First of all, I would like to say that it's all too easy to put up a few posters and write a few vague lines of policy to update an anti-discrimination policy. I believe the fancy legal term for this is 'To cover one's arse'. But for this to be succesfully implemented, you need both a) the victim to feel safe enough to disclose the problem, and b) a solid framework where the claims can be investigated and dealt with in a satisfactory way. I think it's fair to say that this is easier said than done.
Anyway. I'm going to take the easy way out here and say that in my experience, it's all in the delivery. In my working life I have always been surrounded my men, and although some are curious about my sexuality, I can't really remember having ever been attacked for it. I make no bones about who I am and I try to downplay it's significance as much as possible. I find that generally, being honest and unapologetic garners respect in most things. I would never be so naive as to think that negative things aren't said behind my back on occasion, or that I haven't missed out on jobs, etc because of it, but so far my 'take it or leave it' approach seems to be working.
As somebody who experienced quite relentless bullying all through my school years, I have come to accept that in any social situation there will inevitably be a pecking order. If you don't learn to back yourself than you will be picked on for any arbitrary reason; whether it be your cultural background, sexuality, appearance, whatever. I think the danger comes from slipping into a victim mentality and thinking that every time somebody is less than great to you it's because you're a homo. I guess the challence is to be self-reflective enough to recognise whether this is the case, or something larger is at play.