Pink Therapy: A Guide for Counsellors and Therapists Working with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients

By Dominic Davies; Charles Neal | Go to book overview

DOMINIC DAVIES


3
Homophobia and
heterosexism

DOMINIC DAVIES


Definitions

This chapter seeks to explore one of the central clinical themes in working with lesbian, gay and bisexual clients – that of homophobia. However, it seems important to clarify a number of terms first. Weinberg (1972) is usually credited with the invention of the word, although it was in fact first coined by Smith (1971). However, it is Weinberg's (1972: 4) definition which forms the basis for most discussion and understanding of the term and the one we begin with: 'the dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals – and in the case of homosexuals themselves, self-loathing.' This definition was extended by Hudson and Ricketts (1980) to include the feelings of anxiety, disgust, aversion, anger, discomfort and fear that some heterosexuals experience around lesbians and gay men. It is this expanded meaning that will be used for the rest of this chapter and generally throughout this book.

It is important to note that the term homophobia has not received widespread acceptance within the literature. A number of researchers have criticized it as inaccurate, claiming that it is not a classic phobia. Other terms offered have been: homoerotophobia (Churchill 1967); homosexophobia (Levitt and Klassen 1974); homosexistn (Lehne 1976); homonegativism (Hudson and Ricketts 1980); and shame due to heterosexism (Neisen 1990). Herek (1991) objects to the continued use of homophobia because of its tendency to pathologize the individual rather than seeing those holding anti-gay attitudes as reflecting cultural values; he prefers the use of antigay prejudice.

Whilst at a social level the term anti-gay prejudice is acceptable, it has

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Pink Therapy: A Guide for Counsellors and Therapists Working with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Notes on Contributors vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part 1 - Fundamental Issues 9
  • 1: An Historical Overview of Homosexuality and Therapy 11
  • 2: Towards a Model of Gay Affirmative Therapy 24
  • 3: Homophobia and Heterosexism 41
  • 4: Working with People Coming Out 66
  • Part II - Working with Particular Issues 87
  • 5: Working with Single People 89
  • 6: Working with People in Relationships 101
  • 7: Lesbian and Gay Parenting Issues 116
  • 8: Working with Young People 131
  • 9: Working with Older Lesbians 149
  • 10: Working with Older Gay Men 159
  • 11: Alcohol and Substance Misuse 170
  • 12: Partner Abuse 188
  • 13: Religious and Spirituality Conflicts 199
  • Appendix I - Resources 209
  • Appendix 2 - Community Resources 213
  • Appendix 3 - Books for Clients and Counsellors 217
  • References 222
  • Index 235
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