Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price by Warren Blumenfeld

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Stars: *****

This is an excellent anthology on heterosexism and homophobia and how it affects us all. It is edited by Blumenfeld but each essay is written by a different author, giving us all different viewpoints as the authors are young, old, gay, straight, white, not-white and more.
This book is about more than just homophobia. It addressed heterosexism, bisexism, gender stereotypes, homosexual parenting, suicide of homosexuals, heterosexual marriage of gays and lesbians, lesbian baiting, censorship, AIDS and breaking free of homophobia.

I have learned a lot from this book and thought of things from a perspective I might not have thought about had I not read this book. For example, at the end of Chapter 12, there is a Heterosexual Questionnaire by Martin Rochlin, Ph.D. It is designed to be full of questions that homophobes ask homosexuals. Seeing it the other way around just proves how silly the questions gays are asked really are.

For example, “What do you think caused your heterosexuality?” or “Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of members of the same sex?” or “The great majority of child molesters (95%) are heterosexuals. Do you really consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual teachers?” That last questions contains a very true fact often conveniently ‘forgotten’ or more accurately, ‘ignored’ when accusing homosexuals of constantly molesting children. It simply isn’t true.

Chapter 17 is by far my favourite chapter. In it, the author talks about Nadles, Berdaches and Winktes. These are homosexuals of the Navajos, American Indian and Lakota people respectively.

In these cultures, men and women are considered equals and therefore, a feminine man is not lowering himself. These ‘man-women’ are actually considered sacred and closer to God or the Sprits because they have the spirit of a man and a woman in them. They are considered very smart and parents are pleased if a Nadle, Berdache or Winkte pays attention to their children. Many teachers are of these peoples and they are often used as mediators or counsellors for marriages in crisis because it is said that they understand both the man and woman’s viewpoint.

I also learned about bisexism, something I was not aware of. I did not know that gays and lesbians felt an ambivalence of sorts against those who identify as bisexuals and that since these bisexuals also receive discrimination from those who are straight, they are essentially left in between with seemingly no one on their side. Another thing I was not aware of is sodomy laws in the states and how homosexuality is actually outlawed in some states. In others, it is legal to be homosexual but not legal to engage in homosexual acts.

Overall, this book would make an excellent addition to the library of anyone studying homophobia, homosexuality or heterosexism. It would also make an excellent addition to the reading list of everyone else who cares about the future of our world.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.