Identifying and creating an environment that supports all sexual orientations and gender identities

This portion of the site is dedicated identifying you and your surroundings. Read the
following text either individually or in a group and determine at what level you would
place yourself, your school or your workplace. While you are reading this, try to identify
areas where either yourself, your school or your workplace could undertake work or
organize sessions to confront homophobia, heterosexism, biphobia and transphobia.

Positive Levels of Attitude

∙ Works to safeguard the rights of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people
∙ Aware of the climate and the irrational unfairness of attitudes and realities

∙ Acknowledges that being queer in our society takes strength.
∙ Willing to truly look at themselves and work on their own homophobic, biphobic and transphobic attitudes 

∙ Values the diversity of people and sees lesbian, gay, bi and trans persons as a valid part of that diversity
∙ Willing to combat homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in themselves and in others

∙ Assumes that all sexual orientations and gender identities are indispensable in our society
∙ Views lesbian, gay, bi and trans people with genuine affection and delight and willing to be advocates

Levels of Homophobia

∙ Homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism are seen as a "sickness, a sin or a crime"; anything is justified to change "those people" (e.g., prison, hospitalization, negative behaviour therapy including electric shock)

∙ Heterosexual chauvinism. Heterosexuality is assumed to be more mature and certainly to be preferred. Any possibility of becoming straight should be reinforced and those who seem to be born "that way" should be pitied, "the poor dears."

∙ Homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism are viewed as just a phase of adolescent development that many people go through and most people "grow out of." Thus, LGBT people are seen as less mature than straights and treated with the protectiveness and indulgence one uses with a child. Lesbians, gays, bis and transgendered people should not be given positions of authority (because they still are working through adolescent behaviours)

∙ Still implies there is something to accept, characterized by such statements as "You're not a gay to me, you're a person. What you do in bed is your own business, or that's fine as long as you don't flaunt it
∙ Ignores the pain of invisibility and stress of closet behaviour
"Flaunt" usually means say or do anything that makes people aware
∙ Denies the social and legal realities with which queer people live

Developed by: Dr. Dorothy Riddle, Tucson, Arizona and adapted by York Region Health Services
Source: Homophobia, Heterosexism and AIDS, Canadian AIDS Society. (1991)