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Discrimination against gay men

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Grave for Daniel Zamudio, a 24-year old Chilean man who was beaten and tortured for several hours in downtown Santiago by four perpetrators, who attacked him after learning he was gay

Discrimination against gay men, sometimes called gayphobia, is a form of homophobic prejudice, hatred, or bias specifically directed toward gay men, male homosexuality, or men who are perceived to be gay.[1][2][3][4] This discrimination is closely related to femmephobia, which is the dislike of, or hostility toward, individuals who present as feminine, including gay and effeminate men.[5]

Discrimination against gay men can result from religion, prejudicial reactions to one's feminine mannerisms, styles of clothing, and even vocal register.[6][7][8] Within the LGBT-community, internalized issues around meeting social expectations of masculinity have been found among gay, bisexual, and transgender men.[9] It is analogous to lesbophobia.

Discrimination in society[edit]

According to the French government, discrimination against gay men "is a form of homophobia that specifically affects men. Although it is primarily aimed at gay and bisexual men, it can also affect heterosexual men who are perceived as homosexual. Gay men may be targets of physical aggression or devalued by stereotypes linked to feminisation and hypersexualisation."[3]

The journalist Pierre Bouvier described anti-gay male sentiment as parallel to lesbophobia. Noting how these two different forms of homophobia operate in Western cultures, he wrote,[10]

There is very clearly a difference in mechanisms between gayphobia and lesbophobia, and this translates into different types of aggression. Where the collective imagination over-sexualizes gay men and exerts strong verbal and physical violence against boys and men who are not considered sufficiently masculine or heterosexual; for women, on the other hand, the assertion of their lesbian identity will be further disqualified, minimized, reduced to a fad, or even sexualized as a prelude to heterosexuality.

In 2002 male homosexuality was illegal in at least 30 countries whereas lesbian homosexuality was illegal in none. Compared to lesbians, gay men are more often victims of hate crimes and have more difficulty adopting children.[11]

Queer theory[edit]

In French academia, queer theorists have examined the unique ways in which patriarchy attempts to enforce both masculinity and heterosexuality on those with male bodies. The French queer and race theorist Louis-Georges Tin examined discrimination against gay men, and the historical development of the various forms of LGBT-related phobias under the umbrella of homophobia. He writes:

There has been an inverse movement of lexical differentiation operating at the heart of the concept of homophobia. Because of the specificity of attitudes towards lesbianism, the term lesbophobia has been introduced into theoretic discourses, a term which brings to light particular mechanisms that the generic concept of homophobia tends to overshadow. With one stroke, this distinction justifies the term gayphobia, since much homophobic discourse, in reality, pertains only to male homosexuality. Similarly, the concept of biphobia has also been proposed in order to highlight the singular situation of bisexuals, often stigmatized by both heterosexual and homosexual communities. Moreover, we need to take into consideration the very different issues linked to transsexual, transvestite, and transgender persons, which brings to mind the notion of transphobia.[12]

In her 2017 text, The Women's Liberation Movement: Impacts and Outcomes, the German gender historian Kristina Schulz [de] noted that within the Western media landscape during the 1970s' Gay Rights Movement, prejudice against gay men attracted more media attention than lesbophobia, largely due to the rhetoric of reactionary conservatives such as Anita Bryant, who suggested that gay men were sexual predators.[13]

Academic studies[edit]

In peer-reviewed studies which break down and distinguish homophobia separately between discrimination against gay men and lesbians, researchers have found statistically significant differences between heterosexual men and women in regards to their attitudes toward gay men.[14] While no statistically significant differences were found in men and women in regard to lesbians, heterosexual men do demonstrate statistically significant elevated levels of animosity toward men they perceive as gay.[14]


Scholars have noted most homophobic slurs are specifically directed against gay men. Paul Baker of Lancaster University writes, "Many gay men have been subjected to bouts of name-calling, possibly from a time before they even realized what homosexuality was. The over-lexicalisation of pejorative terms for 'gay man' which exist (for example: faggot, pansy, puff, shirt-lifter, brown-hatter, fairy, batty-boy, queer, etc.) is further testament to their status as 'target.'"[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clauss-Ehlers, Caroline S. (2010). Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology (2 ed.). Springer. p. 524. ISBN 9780387717982. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  2. ^ "No More, No Less" (PDF). Sexual and Gender Diversity. Confédération des syndicats nationaux. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b "2020-2023 National Action Plan to Promote Equal Rights and Combat Anti-LGBT+ Hatred and Discrimination" (PDF). # France LGBT+. The Government of the French Republic. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  4. ^ "gayphobia". Glosbe. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  5. ^ Paul, Annie (September 26, 2008). Caribbean Culture: Soundings on Kamau Brathwaite (1 ed.). University of the West Indies Press. p. 368. ISBN 9789766401504.
  6. ^ Loftin, Craig M. (2007). "Unacceptable Mannerisms: Gender Anxieties, Homosexual Activism, and Swish in the United States, 1945-1965". Journal of Social History. 40 (3): 577–596. doi:10.1353/jsh.2007.0053. JSTOR 4491939. S2CID 143995645. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  7. ^ Barry, Ben; Martin, Dylan (2016). "Gender rebels: inside the wardrobes of young gay men with subversive style" (PDF). Fashion, Style & Popular Culture. 3 (2): 225–250. doi:10.1386/fspc.3.2.225_1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-11-05. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  8. ^ Meredith, Natasha. "Gay men who 'sound gay' encounter more stigma and discrimination from heterosexual peers". EurekAlert!. University of Surrey. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  9. ^ F. J., Sánchez (2016). "Masculinity issues among gay, bisexual, and transgender men". APA Handbook of Men and Masculinities: 339–356. doi:10.1037/14594-016. ISBN 978-1-4338-1855-4. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  10. ^ Bouvier, Pierre. "Pride march: 'Lesbians are not necessarily found in the speeches of many LGBT associations'". Hebergement. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  11. ^ Benatar, David (2012-04-13). The Second Sexism. Wiley. p. 54. doi:10.1002/9781118192337. ISBN 978-0-470-67446-8.
  12. ^ The Dictionary of Homophobia: A Global History of Gay & Lesbian Experience. arsenal pulp press. November 2008. ISBN 9781551523149. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
  13. ^ Schulz, Kristina (2017). The Women's Liberation Movement: Impacts and Outcomes (1 ed.). Oxford: Berghahn Books. p. 164. ISBN 9781785335877. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  14. ^ a b Gabriella, Martino (2019). "Relations among gender, religiosity and personality traits in homophobia". Journal of Clinical & Developmental Psychology. 1 (2): 1-11. doi:10.6092/2612-4033/0110-2046. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  15. ^ Baker, Paul (September 2, 2003). Polari: The Lost Language of Gay Men. Milton Park, Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, UK: Routledge. p. 74. ISBN 9780415261807. Retrieved 16 November 2022.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Gayphobia at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of gayphobia at Wiktionary
  • Quotations related to Gayphobia at Wikiquote