Monday, June 13, 2011

Homoskeptic vs. homophobic

For people who don’t hate, dislike or fear gay people, but simply believe that sex between people who are not married (including all sex between those of the same sex) is morally wrong, we need a new term. I’d like to propose the term “homosceptic” — a term that is not yet in common use and hence arguably open to (re)definition. My Microsoft Word spell-check rejects it as a known word and a Google search for it throws up only 1,830 examples of its use in any context. (In the American spelling, homoskeptic, there are only 230 examples.)

The Urban dictionary defines a “homosceptic” as “a member of society who does not hate homosexuals, but generally does not agree with the principle of homosexuality in moral and ethical terms”.

I’d like to broaden this definition to include “being sceptical about the key presuppositions of the gay rights movement” such as the beliefs that:

  • Homosexuality is genetically determined
  • Homosexual orientation is always fixed
  • Sexual orientation is a biological characteristic like race, sex or skin colour
  • Feelings of same sex attraction should be welcomed and acted upon
  • Offering help to those who wish to resist or eradicate these feelings is always wrong
Of course if you accept these “key presuppositions” you may well believe people who don’t to be ignorant, bigoted, prejudiced or even immoral. You might even feel that such people should not hold public office, publicly express their views or hold any job which involves having to condone, promote or facilitate same-sex intimacy.

But if you have some doubts about the truth of some or all of these beliefs — and suspect that they might be more “ideology-driven” than “evidence-based” — then perhaps you could argue that you are not “homophobic” but rather “homosceptic”.
Of course, since I'm an American, it follows that I prefer spelling it with a k after the s (homoskeptic).

I've never liked the term "homophobia", first because it's sloppily derived (at first glance, it could simply be fear of sameness), second because it was born to be a catchall slam against any opinion contrary to the gay-rights issue de jour ... an ad hominem masquerading as a diagnosis. But since it's now a certified part of the language, then I'd like a word that admits of a rational basis for rejecting those key presuppositions.

Homoskeptic works nicely. Thanks, Mr. Saunders!