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Heterophobia is a fear, hatred, or aversion to heterosexual people. Heterophobia is most commonly experienced by homosexual, bisexual, and asexual people, who view heterosexual people as very different to themselves.
The term heterophobia is a portmanteau of the prefix hetero, meaning other or different, and phobia, an irrational fear. It is a variation of the more commonly used term describing similar feelings directed towards homosexual people, homophobia. It came into popular usage in the late 1970s.
Heterophobic people often feel the same way about heterosexuals that homophobic people do about homosexuals. They might feel heterosexual people flaunt their lifestyle and sexuality. They may feel heterosexual displays of affection are unnatural and repulsive. In addition, heterophobic people may react against the way they perceive heterosexual individuals oppress the LGBTQI community.
Heterophobia can be triggered by many factors. Homosexual or bisexual individuals may develop heterophobic feelings after having a negative sexual experience with their opposite gender. In these cases, sexual abuse or having heterosexual sex out of a sense of obligation or a desire to conform may trigger heterophobia. People may develop heterophobia because they only socialize with members of the LGBTQIA community and don’t get to know, and thus understand, heterosexual people. Heterophobia may be reinforced by heteronormative culture which can make LGBTQIA people feel out of place and misunderstood.
While true heterophobia can be damaging, some homosexual and bisexual people joke about heterophobia. They may pretend to be repulsed by their straight friends making out, for example, to tease them.
Some people argue that true heterophobia is a myth. Instead they say the concept has been invented by the straight community as an attempt to discredit and derail LGBTQI rights and activism. If heterophobia exists, it could be argued that LGBTQIA activists aren’t campaigning for equality, and instead behaving in a heterophobic fashion.