Don't Ask Don't Tell has been a controversy for several weeks in America, as legislation to repeal the intolerant act goes to vote in a matter of days. Some people believe that homosexuality is the last frontier in civil rights, but I disagree. The denial of human rights, whether from acts of racism or sexism, originate from fear, and unless a nation of people can look at their own fear, there won't be much widespread acceptance despite legal legislation.
I want to compare homophobia to racism. There have been widespread abusive attacks both verbal and physical to black people and gay people in the United States for many years. These groups are targeted because they are different than the attackers. With racism it is easy for an attacker to identify someone as the 'other.' All they have to do is look at the color or shade of someone's skin and recognize that it is different from their own. The victims of racism are targeted because they are different by no fault of their own and this contrariety in skin color sparks fear in people. They have no control over how they are born but still others feel threatened.
Gayness, on the other hand, is not so clearly visible to someone. Unlike the color of someone's skin which can be identified on first sight, gayness is physically hidden and is an internal difference. Because it is less obvious, this might even hit deeper into the fear someone feels about gayness because gayness does not discriminate. Because a white person can never truly be black in appearance, it is a clear-cut image of us versus them. However, a white person can be just as gay as a black person, and gayness is a human function.
For those afraid of gayness, it is an invisible enemy. The traitor within the fort walls. People are seemingly afraid that they will 'catch' it or become contaminated by someone else's gayness. Perhaps this is because those afraid of it won't examine what it really is. Perhaps because they are afraid that they themselves might discover that they are gay without really understanding what that means. Instead of dealing with this fear, these people would rather push it away and strike out on those identified as gay.
Another factor to consider is that people feel gayness is unnatural. They argue that human sexuality is a function of reproduction and should remain a binary relationship.
When it comes down to it, this view is just a belief. Take a look at the cover of Rolling Stone and tell me that Lady Gaga's sexuality is a function of reproduction? Other cultures like ancient Greece and Rome did not shun gayness as much as today. Contrastingly to modern times, older men of antiquity were known to have sexual relations with their young students as part of the educational process. A then acceptable exchange for knowledge.
Fear arises by the unwillingness to allow change to take its natural course. In other words, when people hold onto beliefs that are as flexible as a golf club, the changing world will try to bend the metal to no avail until the outside power snaps it in two. Beliefs that cause violence and discrimination, are actually just thoughts that were taught to young children as a reality. Children are taught that these differences exist. However, thoughts are electric impulses and what can be more unstable than a moment of electricity?