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Tory MEP Claims homophobia is propaganda and does not exist
#1
The Tory Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands, Roger Helmer, wrote in his weblog few weeks ago:
"And while we’re mentioning semantic issues, let me point out that the neologism “homophobia” is not so much a word as a political agenda. In psychiatry, a phobia is defined as an irrational fear. I have yet to meet anyone who has an irrational fear of homosexuals, or of homosexuality. So to the extent that the word has any meaning at all, it describes something which simply does not exist. “Homophobia” is merely a propaganda device designed to denigrate and stigmatise those holding conventional opinions, which have been held by most people through most of recorded history. It is frightening evidence of the way in which political correctness is threatening our freedom. It is creating “thought crimes”, where merely to hold a conventional opinion is seen, in itself, to be unacceptable and reprehensible. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it."

Presumably, such "conventional opinions" also include racism, sexism and child abuse, all of which have been addressed by lawmakers in more enlightened times. Strange how the term, "political correctness" continues to be used as an insult when what it really refers to is being courteous. The freedom he feels is being threatened must be that of being ignorant of the lives of a large number of his contituents. To deny that homophobia exists is to display ignorance of facts and statistics, including a report recently published that homophobic attacks in Brighton have been on the rise.



If you check the reference in the link to Mr Helmer's blog I suggest you have a look at some of the correspendence his statements attracted. They include some of the most interesting and well-constructed arguments I have seen in a while.


Of course, David Cameron has told us all that the Tories are now a renewed party and that equality of opportunity is important in this agenda. He has yet to respond to the calls to discipline Roger Helmer. The writer, Tony Grew, puts it neatly when he says:
"Mr Helmer may think himself a liberal with a poorly-developed sense of "Gay-dar" and a nice turn of phrase, but his blindness to the most basic tenets of equality mark him out as the sort of Tory that Cameron should dump."
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#2
marshlander Wrote:Of course, David Cameron has told us all that the Tories are now a renewed party and that equality of opportunity is important in this agenda. He has yet to respond to the calls to discipline Roger Helmer. The writer, Tony Grew, puts it neatly when he says:
"Mr Helmer may think himself a liberal with a poorly-developed sense of "Gay-dar" and a nice turn of phrase, but his blindness to the most basic tenets of equality mark him out as the sort of Tory that Cameron should dump."

What on earth do people expect Cameron to do about Helmer? Beyond being a member of the party and being a Tory MEP he has other no official position within the party. So the only concrete act Cameron could take is to withdraw the European Parliamentary whip from him, first having left the European Peoples Party and formed a new grouping with various Eastern European parties the Tories need every vote they've got to exert any influence within the European Parliament, second that would leave Helmer to say whatever he liked with added publicity. The only other act for Cameron is to give Helmer a purely symbolic 'public dressing down' which would only give publicity from his comments and distract from Cameron's agenda of the Economy and the NHS.

I don't understand why everyone gets so worked up about obvious cranks saying such cranky things.
Fred

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
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#3
fredv3b Wrote:What on earth do people expect Cameron to do about Helmer? ... The only other act for Cameron is to give Helmer a purely symbolic 'public dressing down' which would only give publicity from his comments and distract from Cameron's agenda of the Economy and the NHS.
Point taken.

Quote:I don't understand why everyone gets so worked up about obvious cranks saying such cranky things.
What may be obvious to us may not be obvious to all. Presenting a different point of view is important when what he says will have bad consequences if allowed to spread unchallenged. His keeping company with his "good friend" Mr Kaminsky will undoubtedly please some who oppose gay rights in Poland. Mr Kaminsky is no stranger to controversy on gay issues. Some people don't need to look very hard for justification of anti-gay activity while the views of people like Helmer and Kaminsky are allowed to pass without challenge.

I find myself divided over whether Helmer should lose his Conservative membership or not. At least while he's there we can all see that some Tory traditions are not a thing of the past as David Cameron would try to have us believe.
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#4
I find myself angry about stupid people saying stupid things but yet I celebrate the stupid people's right to say whatever they want. In the US we have the 1st amendment which says people can say whatever they weant but we often hear stupid things. I guess I am glad the stupid people can speak because if they couldn't neither could the smart people.
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#5
If we had to buy that sort of bullshit we'd still be living in caves and wearing animal skins.... By saying that IRRATIONAL fear of homosexuals does not exist, is he trying to say that this fear is RATIONAL? If that is the case, it only makes matters worse and the insult more scathing.
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#6
In my opinion, the word homophobia is miss-used, it suggests "Irrational fear" like a fear of spiders, while what they use the word to represent is more of an "irrational hatred" or "irrational ignorance" of homosexuality.

So yea, homophobia may not exist, but for what the word is used to "represent", is more than a little real.
Silly Sarcastic So-and-so
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#7
marshlander Wrote:I find myself divided over whether Helmer should lose his Conservative membership or not. At least while he's there we can all see that some Tory traditions are not a thing of the past as David Cameron would try to have us believe.

I find the notion that the entire Labour party to have fully accepted gay rights to be naive to say the least. Accepting points of view are in the majority and clearly are in firm control of the reins of power within the party, but to say that every last member has a similar point of view on the subject stretches credulity. Similarly, there has been a revolution within the Conservative party (partly instigated by Cameron but also well in existence before him) with a shift in power from older socially more conservative figures to younger more socially liberal figures. Claims that Cameron has somehow exterminated older points of view are laughable but neither are they going to reclaim power for the foreseeable future.
Fred

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
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#8
Quote:I have yet to meet anyone who has an irrational fear of homosexuals, or of homosexuality.

Very strange. I am reminded of a teacher I once met who claimed that he had never, in his 20 years of teaching, witnessed a single instance of homophobic bullying Disoriented I think perhaps some people choose not to see the things they don't want to have to deal with or acknowledge, within an institution or within society. I think such views display great discomfort and hostility towards homosexuality.

In terms of whether of not homophobia is in fact a phobia in the medical sense of the word, I find it perverse that someone could deny that there are individuals who have hatred, fear, discomfort and hostility towards gay people; the statistics Marshlander points to are surely and compelling evidence as one could need!

However, I sincerely hope I do not offend anyone to say that while homophobia is surely an irrational fear, in my opinion it is more productive to treat it as a social problem than a medical problem. I think homophobia can have many causes; some may be organic to the individual, while others may hold such views because of factors such as the way they have been brought up, their cultural and social environment and the norms within that. That is not to jusitfy and excuse, but to suggest that hopefully there is a possibility that homophobic people, while holding irrational views, perhaps have the capacity to be rational people; that they can be engaged in debate and exposed to other points of view, and through this, educated. I do not mean to suggest which should provide a platform for their views, so much as create an enviroment in which they can become informed. I think that is more helpful than classifying it as an illness, which seems to suggest it cannot be changed. I hope that is not offensive to anyone.

This discussion leads me to wonder how many people within politics and society as whole, still hold such views.
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#9
Lilmy87 Wrote:... while homophobia is surely an irrational fear, in my opinion it is more productive to treat it as a social problem than a medical problem ...
I think this difference was behind the justification for some of Mr Helmer's ideas, but he has rather failed to bear in mind how dynamic the English language is. The use of the term -phobia, has come to have a colloquial rather than a medical meaning - driven by the kind of journalism that suffixes every political scandal with the word -gate. In this case it strikes me not as a fear, but rather the kind of response that makes some people stamp on spiders. These people don't really fear spiders, they just stamp on them. Again I would say this is why "traditional" views such as these need to be challenged. Spiders, as well as the rest of us, have a contribution to make. Wink
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#10
marshlander Wrote:The use of the term -phobia, has come to have a colloquial rather than a medical meaning

The suffix -phobia also has a meaning in materials science, to be repelled by. For example, a substance may be hydrophobic, it is repelled by water and will not mix with it.
Fred

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
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