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What is homophobia, biphobia and transphobia?

Discrimination against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life

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Homophobia is discrimination against people who are lesbian or gay. Transphobia is discrimination against people who are transgender. Biphobia is discrimination against people who are bisexual.

Whilst things are getting better for LGBTI+ people, most LGBTI+ people still face discrimination, aggression and misunderstanding at different points of their life. If you’re an LGBTI+ person and have faced discrimination, this can be really hurtful.  You should never have to put up with this kind of behaviour. Remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being LGBTI+. If someone treats you badly because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, there is something wrong with them, not with you.

What counts as homophobia, biphobia or transphobia?

Any time an LGBTI+ person is treated as less simply because of being LGBTI+, this counts as homophobia, transphobia or biphobia. This ranges from making a joke designed to belittle an LGBTI+ person, up to serious violence and discriminatory laws.

Many homophobic, transphobic and biphobic people sometimes claim that their behaviour is not discriminatory and that they are entitled to their opinion. However, you are the expert on your own experience, and only you can decide whether you have experienced discrimination or not.

What should I do if I’ve been a victim of homophobia, transphobia or biphobia?

It can be so hurtful and frustrating to have to deal with discrimination. It can take a long time to accept your sexual orientation or gender identity, and it can be really upsetting when others don’t accept you for who you are.

A good first port of call is to contact BeLonG To Youth Services. This is an organisation dedicated to supporting LGBTI+ young people.

It can really help to talk to other LGBTI+ people your age. BeLonG To run LGBTI+ youth groups all over the country. You can find a list of them here. Most colleges have an LGBTI+ society too, so if you’re in college, this could be a great way to meet other LGBTI+ people.

Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia are really serious and you should never feel afraid to report it to the Gardai. The Gardai have LGBTI+ liaison officers who are trained in LGBTI+ issues and can help you if you need to report crime. You can find a list of Garda Liaison Officers here. Outhouse is an LGBTI+ community resource centre in Dublin. If you feel too nervous to go to the Garda station, you can contact Outhouse on 01 8734999, and they can set up an appointment with the Garda Liaison Officer for you at Outhouse, on Capel Street in Dublin City Centre.

Dealing with discrimination can be tough on your mental health. Make sure to talk to people about how you’re feeling. You could talk to a trusted friend or family member, or you can call one of the following helplines for support:

If you’re being discriminated against at work or by a service provider, contact a Citizens Information or The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. Free Legal Advice (FLAC) have lawyers that that specifically deal with LGBTI+ issues. They offer free legal clinics once a month at Outhouse in Dublin. Contact Outhouse on  01 8734999 for details.

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Published January 7th, 2013
Last updated March 9th, 2018
Tags homophobia bullying discrimination
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