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WHAT IS HOMOPHOBIA?

Homophobia is a fear of gays and lesbians. Homophobia is intolerance and prejudice against particular people because they are lesbian or gay, or because they are perceived to be lesbian or gay.

It is name-calling or teasing. A joke, a comment to strangers in the street, or an unfriendly imitation of someone who speaks or acts differently. The deliberate exclusion of someone because they are gay or lesbian. Defacing a club or bar or building or other property with homophobic graffiti.

Homophobia is getting involved in violence or harassment even if you don't agree with it. Even though most young people disagree with homophobic violence and other homophobic behaviour, gays and lesbians are up to six times more likely to experience violence and harassment. Many young people know that this occurs - some are doing it, some are just sitting around and watching it happen. Why do it if you don't agree with it? Homophobia is fear of difference. Homophobia is learned. People aren't just born with prejudice in their brains, they are taught to be prejudiced. Homophobia is letting other people harass or bash a person because they are, or are thought to be, gay or lesbian and not standing up and speaking out against it. Homophobia is letting the fear of other people's responses get in the way of what you know is right.