phobia (n): an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation (definition courtesy of the iPad version of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
I was checking out my notifications on Twitter and one of the new tweets I missed overnight contained the words “biphobia” and “transphobia,” the latest sexuality-related fear being given voice to… and it made me wonder (and, as usual, not for the first time) if the people who throw these words around understand what a phobia is – hence the moment it took for me to tap the icon on my iPad for the dictionary and look it up so I could display it here. Humans are funny (and like you needed me to remind you of this?) in that we consider ourselves to be both rational and civilized even though we’ve proven over our existence as a species that we can be anything but.
The question that popped into my head was, “Is biphobia really an inexplicable and illogical fear… or is this a fear that’s been taught to us thanks to social conditioning?” It’s one thing to think/believe that bisexuality is morally wrong and this is what we’re taught… but to develop a phobia? I don’t know if you guys are aware of this but phobias are some pretty serious things that tend to defy explanation, like how some people are afraid of clouds (nephophobia) and seeing them can cause panic attacks and other uncomfortable things.
Some fears are ingrained into us over our evolution, like arachnophobia (the fear of spiders) and ophidiophobia (the fear of snakes) and, well, both of these animals are not only creepy looking but some of them can kill the shit out of us and, at the least, make us sick, cause disfiguring damage, etc., so these two phobias kinda make sense, don’t they… for something that, by definition, is said to be an inexplicable and illogical fear. Think about that one for a moment while I keep typing.
So what’s the fear invoked by bisexuals, homosexuals, and transgender? The next and, I think, obvious question isn’t so much that these phobias exist but why they exist and it’s just a guess on my part but it’s probably because we’ve always had a fear of that which is different from us, better known as the fear of the other or, “If you aren’t like us, you’re against us.” It begs a question: Is this a true phobia… or just our natural tendency to be prejudiced against those who are not like us? We know that religion has literally put the fear of God into us about being anything but heterosexual so we have been conditioned to fear homosexuals and it seems that this has been expanded to include everyone else who isn’t heterosexual… and while I haven’t looked it up, uh, is there such a thing as heterophobia?
Well, damn… apparently, there is! From what I’m looking at (courtesy of http:/www.panphobia.com), “The term heterophobia is, perhaps, only less than two decades old – a much shorter period than its more familiar sibling, homophobia, which dates to 1958.”
Who knew? Which again makes me wonder: Is this a genuine, 100% for-real, by the book phobia… or is this just “mere” prejudice toward those who aren’t like us?
Cityman and I talk about this at times and we’ve opined that bisexuality can be perceived as a “threat” to the ways of life for both heterosexuals and homosexuals and, simply, because bisexuals take what we know – and what we’ve been taught – about sex and flushes it down the toilet… but is this a true phobia… or just another way for us to put our ability to be prejudiced on display? Now…
I see some folks write about how biphobia has a negative effect on the lives of bisexuals and, well, I don’t see it… although, admittedly, I’m kinda sure no one would really wanna fuck with me about being bisexual and those who have found reason to regret it. But, my point here is that if you don’t buy into this biphobia bullshit, how can it have a negative effect on you? No, this isn’t a case of pretending it doesn’t exist; this is me coming to the conclusion of not worrying myself about something that most people don’t really understand and especially those people who, inexplicably and illogically, assume that bisexuals and homosexuals are one and the same… and we aren’t. Or, like I said to a guy – and way, way before the word “biphobia” was coined, “If you don’t believe that I’m not homosexual, I can prove it to you; all you have to do is bring me your woman and watch what happens…”
Funny that he suddenly didn’t seem to require any proof…
So, perhaps one can conclude that biphobia – and the other sexuality-related phobias – is a real phobia albeit one that we’ve been taught to have? Yes, I know: There are many people who believe that having such phobias makes no sense at all, that all they do is to perpetuate our fear of that which isn’t like us, to keep drawing lines of division between us even though we are the same species. But if it made sense, um, would it really be a phobia as defined? I’ll leave that up to y’all to figure out…
PS: If you’ve ever wonder why I often say that our fears make us foolish, maybe this scribbling will serve to illustrate why I say this.