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Tory MEP: homophobia doesn’t exist


7:01 pm - August 10th 2009

by Chris Barnyard    


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According to Pink News the Tory MEP Roger Helmer believes that homophobia is a “propaganda device”.

Writing on his blog Roger Helmer said recently:

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.

Pink News added:

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill told the Independent that Helmer should meet the families of Michael Causer and Jody Dobroski, two gay men who were beaten to death.

On the blog, titled Straight Talking, Helmer also defended Michal Kaminksi, who has been accused of homophobia and anti-semitism. In a television interview in 2000, Kaminski, a Polish Law and Justice Party MEP, was heard to call gay people a derogatory term that can be translated as “fags” or “queers”

The Conservatives have yet to respond.

On the blogs, Laura Woodhouse at The F Word said:

his rather feeble justification for his assertions is that, etymologically speaking, “homophobia” is an irrational fear of homosexuals, and no one irrationally fears homosexuals, so it’s all a load of cobblers designed to stop people with, um, really reasonable views using said views to inform really, er, progressive, liberating and humanitarian laws such as that banning homosexual marriage. The bastards.

Julian Ware-Lane at LabourList added:

The Conservatives in Europe now have links with people whose views can most kindly be described as questionable. This latest statement will not dispel the impression of a lurch to the right. I hope that David Cameron will condemn Mr Helmer and his ill-conceived outburst.

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About the author
Chris is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He is an aspiring journalist and reports stories for LC.
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Reader comments


It’s about as sensible as saying you can’t be manhandled, because men don’t have handles. Phobia means all sorts of things… It has a psychological context, a context in the natural sciences and a context in the social sciences.

As any Greek scholar knows, if homophobia could literally be translated it would mean fear of things that are the same (whereas ironically enough, this tory toolbox fears people who are different to him).

N.B. I am not a Greek scholar.

Don’t worry, I’m sure Iain Dale will take him to task.

“I have yet to meet anyone who has an irrational fear of homosexuals, or of homosexuality”

I’m not quite sure what he’s trying to say. Either he believes that no-one fears homosexuality (which is clearly wrong), or he believes that fearing homosexuality is entirely rational (which is clearly wrong).

Perhaps he’s trying to say he hasn’t met many people?

I think we should be tolerant of homophobes. After all, different people have different lifestyles.

But if they’re giong to engage in homophobic acts, can they at least do it in private behind closed doors? I don’t want to see that in public. Children might be watching.

Well, semantically, he’s correct. ” a hater of homosexuals” (or homosexuality) could be homomisand ( or homomise? from miseo, hate, same root as misandry, hatred of women) rather than homophobe*.

Just as xenophobia is used in the wrong manner. It means fear of Johnny Foreigner not hatred of.

But then to move on from the semantic to the denial that hatred of homosexuals or homosexuality exists is a piece of pendantry that’s too far even for me.

However much I might wish that when the word homophobia was coined they’d actually bothered to use a dictionary.

*This will of course fall foul of Muphry’s Law in some manner.

What difference does semantics mean (or Greek translation?) it is an English compound word. Phobia may not be Greek for hatred but, equally Homo is not Greek for gay.

Also, there’s no such thing as television, because tele is Greek and vision is Latin.

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.

The meaning of words is where consensus defines correctness. As far as I know, “homophobia” is understood by most people to mean “prejudice/discrimination against homosexuals”. Therefore amateur etymologists / psychiatrists such as Roger Helmet might like to stick their heads back up their arses* and think again.

“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.

Homophobia might have been wrongly used in the same way that “racist” has been on occasion. But homophobia – prejudice/discrimination against homosexuals – is nevertheless very real. I have encountered a number of people who hate, despise, and even fear homosexuals, from claiming that homosexuals are in some way inferior to heterosexuals, to the extent of calling for homosexuals to be assaulted, burned alive, and murdered. Perhaps Helmer should ask his colleagues whom he believes to be homosexual whether they have ever in their lives experienced prejudice, discrimination, or even assault, because of their sexuality. I am willing to bet a few quid that they have.

* and if that’s their sexual preference, that’s ok.

It just goes to show that etymoligy is the most pointless and idiotic form of political discourse. Of course the meaning of a words is determined historically rather than simply being a product of its constituent parts. Rather reminds me of those idotic discussions of the term ‘anti-semite’ and the fact that not all semites are jews, with certain morons failing to grasp that ‘anti-semitism’ has a meaning in and of itself, distinct from ‘anti’ and ‘semite’. In the same way the meaning of homophobia has developed historically to refer to a range of anti-gay sentiment. THe fact that its social meaning may or may not diverge from its eytmological routes makes it no different from a shit load of other words.

11. Michael Treacy

It may, or may not, interest you to know that Islam is the most homophobic religion!

Are the league tables out already? I was going to put a tenner on Zoroastrianism.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    : Tory MEP: homophobia doesn’t exist http://bit.ly/2AuWfe

  2. Ged Robinson

    RT @libcon: : Tory MEP: homophobia doesn’t exist http://bit.ly/2AuWfe

  3. Alex J. Thomas

    RT @libcon: : Tory MEP: homophobia doesn’t exist http://bit.ly/2AuWfe

  4. Liberal Conspiracy

    : Tory MEP: homophobia doesn’t exist http://bit.ly/2AuWfe

  5. Ged Robinson

    RT @libcon: : Tory MEP: homophobia doesn’t exist http://bit.ly/2AuWfe

  6. Alex J. Thomas

    RT @libcon: : Tory MEP: homophobia doesn’t exist http://bit.ly/2AuWfe

  7. A Mussa

    Liberal Conspiracy » Tory MEP: homophobia doesn’t exist http://bit.ly/18FuDK

  8. The Tory showdown in Europe continues « Raincoat Optimism

    […] ha! I, also, find out from LibCon that (”Straight Talking”) Roger Helmer MEP has denied the existence of homophobia in a […]

  9. Stephen Williams condemns Bristol Tories’ attack on anti-homophobia charity

    […] are not alone – only a couple of weeks ago, Tory MEP Roger Helmer was quoted arguing that homophobia doesn’t exist, but “is merely a propaganda device designed to denigrate and stigmatise those holding […]

  10. Luke Walter

    @CharlotteV Let's not forget about the delightfully 'mainstream' Roger Helmer MEP AKA homophobe denier http://bit.ly/9lGneR





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