To use a mental health term as an insult against those with whom one disagrees is prejudicial, intolerant and, in my view, totally unacceptable.

To use a medical or quasi-medical term as a form of abuse is not only demeaning to the person being abused, it is also demeaning to those who live with the medical condition.

A phobia is an irrational fear. People who are phobic have a serious psychological problem, and in extreme cases a psychiatric problem. A true phobia is always debilitating and often disabling.

I see no difference between calling a person with whom I disagree a spastic or a mongol and calling him a phobic.

So why do people, especially those on the politically correct left, insist on using the prejudicial term homophobic as a term of abuse against those who disagree with their views on same sex relationships?


  1. I don't see how homophobia here is a term of abuse - it is simply the descriptive term for an irrational hatred of homosexuality, based, like all irrational hatreds, on morbid fear.

    I fail to understand what you mean by it being a prejudicial term - homophobia, like racism, misogyny or anti-semitism, is defined as being a prejudicial viewpoint itself, in this case against homosexuality.

    It is not a term of abuse - it is a description of those who all too often hurl abuse at others. What exactly is there to disagree with about same-sex relationships? Homophobia is as irrational, damaging and dangerous as all other forms of hatred directed towards people whose nature, culture, gender or race you despise.


  2. I don't like the term because I'm a linguistic pedant: homophobia literally means "fear of the same".

  3. Most linguists don't like homophobia, because it combines a Latin affix 'homo' with a Greek radical 'phobia'. 'symphobia' would be more correctly Greek, or 'homotrepid' would be more correctly Latin.

    But your point is, that you seem to think that the term homophobia, as many major dictionaries and broadcasters define its standard U.S. / U.K. usage, is too broad.

    I agree with you, that there ought to be many more nuanced and specific terms, to describe the great varity of bigots and degrees of hatemongers -- there just aren't enough words to describe these folks!

    I mean, they range from your casual lad who keeps his discomfort with Queers to himself, so as not to lose his job (on the far left), and then (on the far right) you have your wild-eyed wing-nut American Christians who are pathologically obsessed with hating and persecuting gays -- why should one word be forced to describe all the many shades of hatred?

    Maybe there should be a star system, where we rate bigots like Michelin auberges, i.e., one star bigot, two star neofascist, three star pycho, four star Republican party member/Vatican Archbishop, five star neo-NAZIs.

    Until you are at the receiving end of daily, life-long abuse and subtle and overt discrimination for being a sexual or gender minority, you probably will never understand how inane your question really seems, at first glance.

    Please tell me that the majority of Welsh-speaking males are not as backward as you seem with this question. Tell me, just how fragile is your Cymro masculinity, that you are threatened by a word?

  4. Thanks for your very revealing response Mark. There is nothing in the original post that supports prejudice against homosexuals. Rather than supporting any form of prejudice the post opposes prejudice against people who live with mental health problems.

    Your use of the words psycho and backward in your comments show that you think that it is acceptable to use terms of abuse that vilify people with psychiatric illnesses and people with a learning difficulty.

    Your use of the term Nazi to describe members of the Roman Catholic Church shows that you have no interest in religious tolerance and your racist remarks about Welsh people speak for themselves.

    You can't promote understanding or tolerance for one part of society by being intolerant of another group.

    As a phobia is a serious illness calling intolerant bigots phobic is insulting to those who have genuine phobias. If homophobic is an acceptable term of abuse for relationship bigots then so are Homospastic or Homonigger.

    I'm sorry that your own prejudices lead you to believe that concern about tolerance for people with mental health problems is a slur on gays and support for bigotry and prejudice towards the gay community.

  5. Alwyn or Mark, which one of them is right? there's only one way to settle this....FIGHT!!!

  6. Annwyl Alwyn,

    Psycho is a term which has roots in medical terminology. However, it has long since passed into popular parlance as a word meaning more than just someone who is clinically psychotic.

    Either way, perhaps you are correct, that I am somewhat intolerant (only in my learned speech, not in my attitudes) toward the mentally ill. I will consider this and seek to change any unacceptable biases.

    But the use of term 'psycho' is so widespread, that it's the name of a Hitchcock film which defined a genre of film, more than 40 years ago.

    More to the point, I was (personally) physically attacked, beaten and sent to hospital repeatedly, and stalked for several years, by persons I now believe to be psychotic.

    They attacked me with homophobic diatribes, but their abuse exceeded vicious bullying and crossed into the criminal and the pathological. Having survived their madness, I know that I am qualified to use the word 'pyscho' as I like.

    I realize the folks who abused me were probably sick, definitely criminal, and possibly tragic souls. Nevertheless, they were, no doubt, 'psychos'.

    My association of the Vatican with either Italian or German Fascists has both popular precedent and historical support. The complicity of the Roman Catholic church with Hitler has been documented and never properly acknowledged by Rome.

    I did not intend to use hyperbole when I called the Pope and his misogynist sycophants a bunch of Neo-Nazis.

    I live with daily written and broadcasted homophobic abuse which originates from the Office of the Holy See, and my life, my income, the income and life and work of my partner and family, have been negatively impacted by the vicious and hateful activities of the current Pope.

    For example, I hold a very qualified job, where I have responsibility for a large number of others, both pastorally and professionally. My employees says that my work and service are 'exemplary' and 'indicative of my proven character'.

    In contrast, the Roman Church says that as a gay man, I am 'psychologically disordered' and that I am 'depraved' and 'deserving of the wrath of God' not for anything I have done, but for WHO I AM.
    So yes, the Evangelicals, the Vaticans = NAZIs.

    Finally, my remark was not against the Welsh, but against regressive attitudes among certain groups of Welsh-speaking and English-speaking Welshmen. Why did Rhys Davies refuse to live in the Rhondda? Why did Emlyn Williams make his films in Wales, but his home in London?

    If I had college age sons or daughters who were gay, I might tell them TO RUN to London or at least to Cardiff, because I have personally experienced some degree of intolerance from Welsh people with rural or Valley origins. I'm sure there are homophobic bigots in London, Grangetown and Pontcanna, as well, but it's easily and safer to be gay in these cities.

    gyda gofion gorau i ti, Alwyn. Hwyl, Marc Miami

  7. P.S. phobia is both a medical term, and a general term attached to many other words. When folks use 'phobia' in ways that are not medical, it doesn't weaken the medical meaning.

    Neither does it imply prejudice against folks with mental illness- this argument is not logically sound.

  8. Thankfully, yes, I'm quite sure that Alwyn's views on gays are in the minority amongst Welsh-speakers.

    I'm all for linguistic pedantry, and yes it's true that the word homophobic is an awkward combination of Latin and Greek. But the fact remains that intolerance of any sort towards gays is utterly irrational and daft. As is basing anyone's moral code solely on the basis of a 2000 year old book (which is great literature but nothing more).

    It's easy to try to wiggle out of this by saying something like "but we're ALL sinners; homosexuality is just another sin". But that's utterly disingenuous, because it clearly isn't "just another sin". It's the one sin irrational people obsess about more than any other.

  9. Dylan, as you don't know what my opinions about homosexuality are you can't say whether they are the views of the minority or the majority in Wales. You assume that I have a particular view because I have said here and on Maes e that Catholics and Evangelicals have the right to believe that it is a sin.

    In general I would have thought that most people in Wales are prejudicial in their views about equality issues, if you are trying to claim that wales is some sort of enlightened society where the majority believe in equality liberty and fair play you are probably mistaken, unfortunatly.

    However this post is not about the rights and wrongs of homosexuality but if the word homophobic is the most appropriate word to use to describe people who have biggoted and prejudicial view of homosexuals.

  10. Well according to the Oxford English Dictionary, that has been it's meaning for at least 40 years.

    Then again, maybe they're just part of 'the politically correct left'.


  11. Again a well presented post Alwyn and a robust 'defence' against the inevitable attack from the screaming lefties.

    Gwil ap Tomos

  12. So you presumably also detest the words hydrophobic/hydrophilic. I assume you believe that when we use them to describe inanimate objects such as phospholipid molecules, which actually possess both said qualities, we mean that these inanimate molecules actually literally suffer from a serious mental illness which leads to a bizzare scizophrenic relationship with water molecules.

    Or if you don't, perhaps it's simply that words are words and meanings evolve over time.

    Either way, I'd be interested to see any suggestions for an alternative word to define irrational bigotry towards people who prefer relationships with members of the same sex.

  13. To answer Gx point, the fact that a word is in the OED doesn't make it the best or most appropriate word to use. Sodomite is in the OED too - but its not the sort of word one would approve of using, is it?

    As to Marks point about the populist use of the term phobia - this was an argument used for the retention of racist and sexist words 30 years ago, they are "what every body uses", "no harms intended" etc. I don't like its use in a populist term in any context, not just in this one.

    Re: Dylan's question about the use of terms such as hydrophobic/ hydrophilic in a science context. I'm not sure - but a case could be made for not using them. Attempts have been made in engineering to stop the use of "male / female" for certain joints and connections because they are sexist, so there is a precedence.

    What alternative words could be used? Mark noted Homotrepid above. Before homophobic caught on queerist was used by some in the gay rights cause. How about the unequivical anti-gay bigot?

  14. You're fighting a losing battle Alwyn, about the generalized usages of phobic, beyond the narrow medical meaning, you would like to assign to it.
    Pob luc.

    Further, your single attack upon homophobia as an example of your point, seems like an obfuscated or circumlocuted way around a direct attack upon anyone who use the term homophobia. 'Anti-gay bigots' is too long and doesn't cover the wide range of anti-gay-fearmongering and anxiety, including internalized self-loathing, rampant in some closeted and semi-closeted gay circles.

    To assert that folks who use a word which is clearly defined for over 40 years in major lexicons, seems specious, and well, homophobic, since you aren't attacking folks who use the word arachnaphobia, etc.

    The ad hominem remarks about 'screaming lefties' or the 'p.c. left' also seem to position your argument in allignment with the bigoted minority in Wales and American and in la citta' del Vaticano sacro.

    If your point is to complain about people discriminating twoard mentally ill folks in terms and attitudes, then say so, without conflating your comments with veiled homophobic remarks, ok?

    Or if your point is to distinguish yourself as one of the proud worldwide alliance of sexuality bigots, then say so --directly, without couching your comments in the smoke screen of other issues, os gwelwch yn dda. Dydd Cymreig Democratiaeth Hapus i bawb!

    (good question, by the way, if you meant to be controversial)