Am I homophobic if I feel uncomfortable around homosexuals?
Despite what we say we believe, we will still have emotional reactions to what we see, hear, or imagine those in the LGBTQ+ movement think and do. That is understandable.
This is not the case only with them. We have to learn to overcome our reactions to anyone different from us in an identifiable way. The best way to do that is to be interested in them as a person. This will help us find things in common that will make our differences seem less extreme.
In Speaking of Homosexuality, Joe Dallas, who was previously an active member of the LGBTQ+ community, talks about the Ick Factor. He says:
“Some distaste at the image or concept of homosexual sex is to be expected and doesn’t constitute homophobia but, instead, a natural aversion to unnatural behavior. But if you can’t talk to a homosexual without thinking about what he does in bed, or you’re morbidly focused on her sexual activities, or you classify his sexual sin apart from and above all others, that’s not just a distaste for sin-that’s an inflated reaction, maybe even an unhealthy fixation. If you find gay sex to be “icky,” yet you keep thinking about it, like gawking at a traffic accident-repulsed and fascinated at the same time–then I’d say the Ick Factor has a hold on you.” (Speaking of Homosexuality Pg. 32)
He points out that they often have the same feelings about us. He writes:
“In short, gay co-workers, friends, or family members can easily see us as people who directly or indirectly, through the democratic process, seek to deny them rights they feel are essential.
“… For all these reasons, mistrust is a frequent companion to many a homosexual conversing with a Traditionalist. But mistrust works both ways, because we, too, feel threatened. Some of us see the gay rights movement’s political and social goals as unfair, sometimes even draconian. And whereas many lesbians and gays believe we threaten their sexual and relational freedoms, many of us believe they threaten our freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience.” (Speaking of Homosexuality Pg. 35)
So, there are lots of uncomfortable feelings to go around. Maybe that’s the common ground we can begin to find. You might find they appreciate talking about something that has nothing to do with the apparent differences between you.
These moments of human connection can go a long way to reducing the tension and creating opportunities for future conversations.