Homophobia is a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards homosexuality or people who are identified as being gay. It is an emotional form of discrimination which too often manifests in the form of aggression and hate towards gays and lesbians. It shows itself in many ways in the daily lives of gay, lesbian and bisexual people. You may not even be aware of these, but here are a few examples.

How would you feel if:

  • You couldn’t hold your partner’s hand or show affection in the street without fear of being looked at negatively or attacked?
  • You were never asked about your partner, even though others are asked about their husbands, wives, boy or girlfriends?
  • People didn’t want to be ‘associated’ with you, or be seen with you – because others might think they too were gay?
  • People said that people of ‘your kind’ are all funny, ‘sensitive’, artistic or whatever?
  • You lived in fear of being verbally or physically abused or attacked because of who you are?
  • Employers, work mates, teachers, school friends, public officials or family treated you differently – or just plain excluded you?

These can also be considered homophobic:

  • Thinking you can ‘spot’ a gay or lesbian? (You’ll be wrong all too often!)
  • Thinking that if gays or lesbians touch you, they are making ‘sexual advances’.
  • Thinking it’s ‘nice’ when a heterosexual couple are affectionate – but ‘repulsive’ when two gay people do the same.
  • Making sure everyone knows you’re straight even as you defend gay rights!

Homophobia in Gibraltar

In Gibraltar we pride ourselves in being a tolerant society and in great measure we a mixed community, living close to each other. One thing is for everything to seem ‘fine’ so long as everything stays the same, and another is for intolerance to occur when those tho previously had remained silent before discrimination in all the normal spheres of life start asking for change because they are no longer willing to be treated unequally. The most shocking manifestation of discrimination happens in these circumstances.

Already in the past 5 years or so we have seen various cases of violence owards gay people. The numbers may be small, but we are after all a small community, and one person being beaten up is one person too many! The Gibraltar government is now committed to bringing in a hate crime and hate speech law which will protect people from physical and verbal abuse and which will require police to assume explicit responsibility in this area of homophobic violence.

Gibraltar needs to act on this now – to prevent a trend of homophobic violence and abuse which always follows when lays and lesbians no longer hide and hence become the visible targets for homophobes. The Gibraltar gay community and their heterosexual friends, families, and supporters will no longer allow homophobia from any sector to force gays and lesbians to hide. We believe the day must come when equality becomes a reality for all.