What is Homophobia

The homophobia designates a kind of prejudice toward people who have emotional homo relationships, whether between men or women.

From the Greek word homophobia is formed by the terms “homo” (similar, equal) and “phobia” (fear, aversion), which means aversion to similar relationships.

Thus we can conclude that homophobia corresponds to any act or manifestation of (often irrational) hatred, aversion, revulsion, rejection or fear against homosexuals, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transvestites and transsexuals, which has led to many types. violence, whether social, psychological or physical.


The term Homophobia was first used in 1971 by New York psychologist George Weinberg in his work entitled “ Homosexual Society and Health ” (1972), in which he states that people who feed homophobia have psychological problems, proposing, among other measures, the removal of the term “homosexuality” from the list of diseases.

In the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome, homosexuality was practiced by many and viewed naturally.

However, the Judeo-Christian religions were the propellers and propagators of intolerance against homosexual relations considered acts of perversion which led to countless deaths, amputations, castrations, fines, and even various psychological and physical tortures.

These prejudiced ideals (homophobia) have been nurtured for many centuries, which later homosexuality becomes a pathology, mental illness, genetic problem and an aberration.

In this context, many homosexuals were forced into numerous procedures as well as living in psychiatric clinics, which were considered dangers to society.

However, this inhuman situation has begun to change its landscape since the 1980s, with the decriminalization of homosexuality by various countries around the world. In the following decade, the Health Organization removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses.

Current studies on the formation of homosexual identity determine two strands of research: biological factors or social factors; although it is still a puzzle for society to be attracted to individuals of the same gender, which raises questions such as:

  • Is homosexuality genetic or innate?
  • Does sexual choice depend on cultural and social factors?
  • Are all humans potentially bisexual or do they have any homosexual or heterosexual tendencies?

Nowadays the homophobia theme has demonstrated the importance of tracing actions of awareness, punishment and, above all, the clarification of several doubts about the subject, considering the increase of violence caused mainly by the ignorance and / or intolerance of many people who participate in groups. racial ideals, and many religions that share this kind of prejudice.

Homophobia in the World

In some countries in Africa and Asia, the issue of homosexuality is far from being dealt with naturally, so that around 80 countries homosexual intercourse is considered a crime and, in the most extreme cases, sentenced to life imprisonment or the death penalty (about 7 countries); to the detriment of 113 countries that allow homosexuality.

These homophobic laws are part of the code of several countries such as: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Mauritania, Sudan, Nigeria, Uganda, Yemen, Pakistan, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Egypt, Zambia, Russia, among others.

While there is extreme intolerance for this type of relationship, other nations of the world are demonstrating the front of prejudice so that from 2001, the legalization of same-sex civil marriage was established in the following countries: South Africa, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Canada, Argentina and the United Kingdom.

Thus, studies indicate that Europe is one of the continents of the world where gay rights are most recognized and respected.

According to recent surveys, Western countries (European, Anglophone, and Latino) are named as those who best accept homosexuality (Spain and Germany, the first on the list); and Muslim and sub-Saharan African countries are the least tolerant of homosexuality.

Homophobia in Brazil

In the Brazilian case, civil unions since May 2011 have been permitted by law with similar rights to heterosexual couples.

However, recent research points to Brazil as one of the most homophobic countries in the world, which takes into account violent attacks on homosexuals.

Given this, it is worth noting that social movements of this portion of citizens, such as the “Gay Parade”, have shown that this type of event aims to report violence against this group, while seeking to reveal to the population the existence of violations of Human rights.

As a result, the LGBT group (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transvestite and transgender), which grows each year, is fighting for legitimate claims to society’s recognition and regulation of Public Policy Legislation, such as the creation of laws for the LGBT community, in order to offer full citizenship to all citizens.

Finally, House Bill 122/06, known as PLC 122, aims to include homophobia in the article on racism, while proposing to amend Law 7,716, criminalizing homophobic acts.


  • The English term “Gay“, which literally means “gay,” was initially used to refer to men who were related to others, however, the term took on a larger dimension, so that today it encompasses both genders: men and women.
  • “World Day against Homophobia” is celebrated on May 17.

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