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Sexual Minorities & Digital Cultures. Homophobia. Homophobia : Fear of, hatred of, or discomfort with people who love and sexually desire members of the same sex Manifestations : hate speech; bullying, teasing, & harassment; physical assault; murder; mass murder

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  • Homophobia: Fear of, hatred of, or discomfort with people who love and sexually desire members of the same sex
  • Manifestations: hate speech; bullying, teasing, & harassment; physical assault; murder; mass murder
  • Because most LGBTQ people are raised in the same society as heterosexuals, they learn the same beliefs and stereotypes prevalent in the dominant society, leading sometimes to internalized homophobia
  • Impacts: LGBTQ teens have 4 times the suicide rate of straight-identified teens
  • 45% of male and 28% of female LGBTQ community members experience assault during their lifetime
  • Hate crimes against LGBTQ currently on the rise >
  • Definition: Assumptions built into social institutions and governmental policies that systematically provide privileges for heterosexuals, or disadvantages to LGBT individuals
  • Based on the assumption that only different sex desire is normal, or should be visible, heteronormativity is everywhere; unlike overt homophobia, heteronormativity is most of the time invisible, the taken-for-granted assumption that all relationships are heterosexual ones
  • Manifestations: marriage laws & attendant property law; laws against same sex intimacy; military policy; workplace discrimination etc.
  • Media programming aimed exclusively at heterosexuals, or featuring unconsciously homophobic elements >
lgbtqueer cyberspaces
LGBTQueer Cyberspaces
  • Protection afforded by anonymity: non-judgmental informational resources; self-representation without fear; exploration w/o fear or danger
  • Connection out of isolation; linking across local, regional, national, and international borders
  • Creation of new virtual communities
  • Organizing political and cultural resistance through social movements >
gay lesbian alliance against defamation glaad
Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
  • The largest and more effective LGBTQ media watchdog group
  • Previously focused moslyt on TV and film, but now very active with “new media” like the web and video/computer games
  • July 18, 2009 – first conference on homophobia in cyberspace
  • Panelists: Flynn DeMarco, the founder of; Dan Hewitt, the Senior Director of Communications for the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) which owns and hosts E3; Caryl Shaw, a Senior Producer in the Maxis Studio (Electronic Arts, Inc.) who has worked on games like The Sims and Spore; CynSkyberg, VP of Customer Relations at Linden Lab (Second Life); and Stephen Toulouse, the Program Manager for Policy and Enforcement on Microsoft’s XBox LIVE service.
homophobia heteronormativity in cyberspace
Homophobia &heteronormativity in cyberspace
  • Gay hate speech trash-talking by gamers
  • Gay-bashing & trash-talking in games
  • Lack of gay identified game characters
  • Discrimination in employment of gay designers
  • Intolerance toward LGBTQ-only online “safe zones” >>>
the last acceptable prejudice
The last acceptable prejudice?
  • “that’s so nig***rish”
  • “that’s so g*y”
  • “that’s so j*wy”
  • Which of these phrases could go unremarked upon in a WSU dorm?
  • 154,000 web sites with the phrase “that’s so gay”
comebacks to try
Comebacks to try
  • Do you know, saying that is insulting to gay people?
  • I'm sure you didn't mean the extremely hard pop quiz we just had is attracted to the same sex.
  • How would you feel if I used a characteristic of yours, like your race or religion as an insult?
  • I know a lot of people say that, but I find it offensive. Can you make an effort not to use that phrase?
heteronormative attitudes flaunting
Heteronormative attitudes:“Flaunting”
  • “I don’t mind gay people, so long as they keep to themselves and don’t flaunt their sexuality”
heterosexism is deeply tied to sexism to keeping males females in their limited places
Heterosexism is deeply tied to sexism, to keeping males & females in their limited places
  • Straight people suffer constraints on their self-expression when rigid masculine-feminine roles are policed by homophobia
  • Often it is those most insecure in their own sexuality who feel most compelled to bash gays; because sexual choice (unlike say, race) might change, in a gay-bashing culture fear of being labeled gay is especially hard on youth who are just coming to sexual maturity – hence the very high suicide rate among gay and gay-baited youth
  • Heteronormativity is very much about protecting male privilege by threatening males who don’t put down, or aggressively pursue girls, or who engage girls and women on an equal footing, as “fags” & “homos”

The connection between male dominance & heterosexism can be seen in the phenomenon of “lesbian chic” -- depictions of female-female intimacy that is more about male fantasy than female same sex desire.

No similar “gay male chic” exists because of greater male homophobia